We Love Music: Flume, Lovelife @ U Street Music Hall — 4/3/13

Flume (courtesy Pitch Perfect PR)

Flume (courtesy Pitch Perfect PR)

Wunderkind DJ Flume brought some good energy and urbane smoothness to a packed U Street Music Hall Wednesday night, pleasing the crowd with R&B-tinged trance-like mixes that got everyone dancing, particularly when mixed up with some effectively frenetic beat-matching to add some spark to the mix.

A good selection of songs put everyone in the mood to relax and shimmy along. Flume wisely chose songs that complement his own, favoring his full-length self-titled debut released last fall. He put the crowd at ease with the very down-tempo “Get Free” by Major Lazer before he cleverly slid into his own “Insane,” featuring a dreamy vocal by Moon Holiday. “Insane” is a pleasing slow jam that opens with some effective minimalism and builds up to a steady pulsating groove, effortlessly putting you at ease despite it’s perhaps threatening refrain of “go insane.”

Flume moved on to “On Top,” which has a rap by a lyrical fellow calling himself T.Shirt. While a slightly more aggressive, it still kept a pleasing pace. The crowd at U Street Music Hall really reacted to it, dancing in place to the steady beat. Soon after, we listened to “Left Alone,” featuring Chet Faker, another nicely melodic tune.

With good timing and an excellent feel for space, Flume kept the crowd happy while not overwhelming with needless noise. At a mere 20 years old, the young man from Sydney has style. He’ll doubtless be around again soon.

It was a long night for U Street Music Hall, which hosted two DJs and a band as openers for Flume. I must applaud the rather impressive band, Lovelife, which may have seemed out of place at first glance, but truly brought an appealing and unique sound to their five-song set for those who were early enough to catch it.

Lovelife at Bowery Electric, 2012 (courtesy of Lovelife)

Lovelife at Bowery Electric, 2012 (courtesy of Lovelife)

The London-born quartet, who have relocated to Brooklyn, consists of singer Lee Newell, synth-player Ally Young, guitarist Sam Jackson, and drummer Frank Colucci. These likeable young fellows aren’t afraid to mix up genres a bit. They dress like old-school mods, play music that seems quite comfortable alongside the latest neo-psychedelia coming from their adopted town, and steep themselves in layers of R&B. Their sound has quite an organic feel, prompting the audience to dance slowly at first and a bit more excitedly by the end of a set that was all too short.

The songs deal thematically a bit with loss and betrayal, suggesting “lovelife” may indeed be part of the band’s musical DNA. Starting slow and soulful but speeding up to a steady gallop, the song “Brave Face” refuses to look back on a relationship that has ended badly. Another crowdpleaser, “She Makes It Look So Easy,” soulfully protests a sad betrayal by a lady who “was with him in the bedroom doing cocaine.” If it weren’t so mature, lyrically and musically, it almost would harken back to the R&B pop sounds of boy bands like ‘N-Sync (so true as unlikely as this may seem).

Lovelife’s latest song, “Your New Beloved,” has hit the indie chart at Hype Machine, much to be band’s pleasure. Newell crooningly revisits the band’s favorite theme of lost love, ending in a simple but powerful refrain of “running away.”

Rumor has it that the band soon will launch a full tour of its own and hit DC again sometime in the first week of May. Don’t miss that chance to catch the very talented group before they make it big.

Mickey

Mickey reviews music shows. He loves a good new wave song, new or old — call it new wave, next wave, now wave. Mickey also enjoys guitar-driven punk and synth-wave new romanticism. The new wave lies in the vast space between. Follow him on Twitter, as he hops around town and talks about music.

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