By Blair Cannon
Flume and The Chainsmokers’ show at the Highline Ballroom last Monday night was, if anything more than a concert, a crystal clear reflection of our generation’s obsession with the popular and overrated culture of music festivals and fast-paced electronic dance music.
The ambiance could best be described as Coachella, if Coachella were uprooted and placed indoors. High school kids clad in tank tops of the neon variety, inexplicably wearing fake glasses (also neon), and almost all sporting snapbacks (a single bucket hat was lost among the crowd) sang along lyric by lyric to live remixes they’d clearly heard a million times.
The Chainsmokers, a New York City-turned-Calgary electronic DJ duo, opened the night feeding all the right lines and playing all the right cards with their very modern-age audience. Their notorious song “#SELFIE,” which was released in January of this year is a suffocating parody of the phenomenon dubbed selfie-ism, the incessant need to photograph oneself that becomes an epidemic at music festivals like this weekend’s Coachella.
Concert goers took periodic breaks from fist pumping and arm flapping to divulge in the obligatory selfie(s), typically with tongues purposefully stuck out or hands twisted into backwards peace signs over the face. The Chainsmokers even helped out by throwing cardboard frames with the infamous song title printed on them like frisbees into the Instagram prop-hungry crowd. I will admit that I was worried, to say the least, upon observing the middle-school dance ambiance and overly-hype yet diluted raver qualities that the crowd seemed to possess.
Nevertheless, Flume’s performance was in equal parts a success and a relief. The 22 year-old Australian DJ, fresh off the plane from Indio, charmed the crowd and took the vibes down a notch with his slower, more indie-inspired sounds.
He played all the crowd-pleasers, from “Holdin On” to “Left Alone” (which features Chet Faker), to “Insane” (which features Moon Holiday and Killer Mike), and the average age of the audience members seemed to surreptitiously go up. Flume’s set was true to the established tracks on his studio album, especially during the more popular songs, during which it would have been both difficult and disappointing to deviate a substantial amount. However, he did take some artistic liberty with the set, even though he primarily played it safe with his own music and established remixes—with the exception of his remix of “Tennis Court” by Lorde.
The up-and-coming DJ had the relatively typical graphics of an EDM artist, which ranged from intertwining silhouettes of cactus-esque plants to clouds of colored smoke—a significant shift from The Chainsmoker’s nonsensical dancing lobsters and lemon slices.
Flume’s set also provided the experience desired by the more interested and experienced concert goer, the type who goes to shows for the music, and maybe gets wasted in the process—not the other way around.
Blair Cannon is a staff writer. Email her at email@example.com.