Review: The Avalanches at the Chevron Festival Gardens

The Avalanches | Chevron Festival Gardens | 25th February 2018 | ★ ★ ★ ★ 

When The Avalanches were announced as one of the bands to be performing at the Perth Arts Festival tickets were quickly snapped up.

The last time the band played in Perth was 15 years ago, and given that the band are famous for taking their time, fans weren’t going to miss the opportunity to see them.

Local hip-hop artist Ziggy Ramo entertained the crowd before The Avalanches took to the stage, his uplifting hip hop sound – the perfect match for the main entertainment.

Wearing a t-shirt that called for ‘Justice for Elijah’ Ramo spoke about indigenous deaths in custody, the Ms Dhu case, the death of teenager Elijah Doughty, and last year’s marriage postal survey. While the performer’s political commentary raised serious issues, the crowd seemed like they were just here for a good time.

As the stage filled with smoke, the full house audience waited in anticipation for The Avalanches, the music became more eclectic with jazz saxophonist Albert Ayler’s Heart Love and Guns N’ Roses Mr Brownstone playing loudly. Soon the shadowy figures of The Avalanches filed on to the stage.

The band played music from both of their acclaimed albums, 2000’s Since I Left You and 2016’s Wildflower. Joining Avalanches Robbie Chatter and Tony Di Blassi were US rapper Spank Rock, vocalist Eliza Wolfgramm and drummer Paris Jeffree.

After opening up with Because I’m Me, the band quickly got into one of their big hits with Frankie Sinatra. Wolgramm sauntered across the stage wearing a military styled hat, while Spank Rock revved up the crowd. Chatter spent most his time on stage playing guitar, while Di Blassi shifted between keyboards and various pieces of technology.

A cover of The Clash’s Gins of Brixton fitted perfectly into the proceedings, while Flight Tonight from the band’s debut album was a tight and intensely throbbing presentation.

Surprisingly the massive hit of Subways was one of the flatter numbers in the show, the catchy rift of Graham Bonnet’s Warm Ride was lost in the mix and failed to pack the expected punch. Spank Rock performed his tune Bump before the crowd went wild for Frontier Psychiatrist.

The final song was If I Was a Folkstar with Di Blassi handling the song’s vocals. An encore brought the smashing The Noisey Eater before the evening was wrapped up with the band’s biggest hit Since I Met You.   

The Avalanches have successful taken their studio sound and transformed it into an engaging live experience. Check out what else is on at the Perth Festival.

Graeme Watson


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