Review — Flume Brought the Heat to Red Rocks Amphitheatre

On an already hot summer’s day, Flume brought the heat on Tuesday night at Red Rocks. A diverse lineup of experimental dance music and classic sing-alongs got the crowd going. With help from openers, singers and friends, they were able to mesmerize the soldout show at Red Rocks from start to finish. Dubbed “The Palaces Tour,” Flume opened every door to his palace for fans to take in. The open door of experimental electronic music lead fans down memory lane with  “You and Me” and “Never Be Like You” while other hallways took fans to new heights with gems like “High Building” featuring Oklou and “Sirens” featuring Caroline Polachek. 

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Opening for the Australian musician is no easy task. However, Oklou knew exactly how to settle the crowd into the amphitheatre. In fact, she had practice opening for a Colorado crowd at the end of 2021 when she opened for Caroline Polachek at the Bluebird Theater. In a similar style, the French producer paced around the stage full of confidence and grace. As fans climbed up the stairs, Oklou treated the crowd to a blend of soothing pop, electronic and R&B. People began taking their seats, enjoying the soft synths and taking in the beautiful skyline. While Oklou would ease the crowd into their seats, it would not be the last they saw of her. 

DJ’s Prospa and TSHA handled the rest of the opening act duties, playing a back-to-back set of danceable electronic music. First, the duo Prospa took us back to the classic sounds of electronic music by blending deep-house and techno music reminiscent of the early 2000s — in the best way possible. Fans shuffled, danced and jumped for joy at the familiar sounds. Not just anyone could pull off a nostalgic set but the duo delivered on their promise by sticking to their guns and getting people on their feet. Without hesitation, TSHA hopped behind the turn tables. Fans were in for a treat as the London-based producer is quickly emerging as one of the most exciting young artists. She proved why on Tuesday night. Opening with beats resonant of a traditional nightclub, the DJ kept the crowd grooving. Songs “Let You Go” and “Giving Up” lead to relentless club energy that was present throughout her set. With transitions as smooth as butter, it’s no wonder why people are rallying behind the artist. For TSHA, Red Rocks was only the beginning. 

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There’s only one way to open a show at Red Rocks — kick it into high gear. At least that’s what Flume decided to do as a spinning wheel appeared on screen with revving car engine noises blaring through the amphitheatre. The DJ set an expectation by opening with “The Difference” featuring Toro y Moi. The entire crowd sang along to the chorus as one big family linked arm and arm. Without skipping a beat, Australian singer Kučka hopped on stage to perform their latest song “Escape.” Fans would do just that — escape into the night as throwback remixes of “You and Me” and Lorde’s “Tennis Court” took the crowd to another place and time. This would only be the beginning but the DJ showed his love for Colorado by shouting, “Denver how are we doing? Thank you so much for coming out tonight!” 

The difference between Flume at Red Rocks in 2022 versus previous performances was his experience. The producer has been in the game for 10 years collecting references. Here, Flume showcased his ability to bring the weird to the normal and the dark to the light. Smooth transitions of hyper-pop blended into the sounds of drum and bass, followed by a melodically full song. Opener Oklou would return to the stage to perform their number, “Highest Building.” The upbeat jam transcended the crowd to new places within the palace, keeping the audience on its toes. 

Throughout the performance, beautiful landscapes and portraits of animated and colorful birds appeared on the screen. At the same, the arches on stage, which could be inferred as Flume’s palace, shifted and moved throughout in order to indicate a shift in tone for the show. Even with the stage queues and the second set of three being played, fans were kept guessing what was to come next from the front tables turning at the helm of Flume. Moreso, friends of Flume jumped on stage to perform including MAY-A, who stepped up to perform “Never Be Like Me” and their collaboration “Say Nothing.”

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The colorful blend of music brought walks of life from across the country with visitors from Texas, California and even Chicago. Under the mountain’s stars, Flume brought people together in a way no DJ could. His experience was king as he lead us through a journey of experimental dance music to classic sing-alongs, giving Red Rocks all he had to offer. Of course, it’s never possible with a little help from friends and collaborators but such is how life goes. At the end of the show, Flume shouted his excitement at a sold-out Red Rocks night and claimed, “You’re fucking amazing, Denver! You’re always an amazing crowd!” 

All photography by David Cohn