The Avalanches Brisbane Review @ The Tivoli Theatre

The Avalanches played The Tivoli Theatre (Brisbane) 7 March, 2018.
Solar-powered journalist with a love for live reviews and the challenge of describing sounds with words. Always: cooking, often: thrifting, sometimes: playing the piano, rarely: social, never: late. Living abroad in Japan.

The Avalanches’ debut album (one of two) was released when I was only six-years-old.

But although it was 2016’s ‘Wildflower’ on my mind at The Tivoli Theatre in Brisbane (8 March), the venue was palpably packed with fans from all stages (or both stages, more accurately) of their career.

The band entered a little late, tension building with an extended ‘Intro’, finally emerging and immediately immersing themselves in ‘Because I’m Me’.

Avalanches.4Image © Zoe Russell

Vocalist Nareem Juwan alternatively rapped his own material, boycotting the recorded verses, Eliza Wolfgramm comfortably asserted her impressive pipes by his side.

Click here for more photos from the show.

Back-to-back massive tracks with ‘Frank Sinatra’, admittedly sparking concern the set would peak too early.

The delicate equilibrium of live performing was thrown off balance when Tony Diblasi’s backing track speaker momentarily busted; the band kept their cool, though moments passed until the audience became settled and transfixed again.

Avalanches.3Image © Zoe Russell

The Avalanches covered The Clash’s ‘Guns Of Brixton’, before announcing “Let’s take it back all the way to album one!”, turning time with ‘Flight Tonight’ and ‘Radio’.

I was stunned by how much of an impression each made (particularly the latter), quietly disappointed for ignorantly disregarding ‘Since I Left You’. It almost felt like I was boogying at a Kaytranada concert though unlike the age-old question of ‘the chicken and the egg’, we all know who came first here.

My personal pick of ‘Wildflower’, ‘Subways’ was visually accompanied by its spectacular animated film clip, psychedelic pictures hard to tear your eyes from, projected on the back wall of the stage.

The crowd’s response was slightly disappointing during the band’s techno remix of ‘The Noisy Eater’ and cover of Spank Rock’s ‘Bump’, standing still with unfamiliarity despite the two being stellar dancefloor fillers.

Avalanches.5Image © Zoe Russell

‘Frontier Psychiatrist’ was an indisputable set highlight, a brilliant amalgamation of vinyl samples that instantly reinvigorated the audience. “This is our last song Brisbane!” Tony declared, rounding off the performance with ‘If I Was A Folkstar’s sparkly hues.

It didn’t take long for The Avalanches to resurface with an encore, ‘The Noisy Eater’ sounding particularly Gorillaz-esque (think 'Superfast Jellyfish'). Star single ‘Since I Left You’ proved the perfect way to close, a shimmering, audible depiction of strolling through paradise.

Not unlike their music, thousands of sounds meticulously assembled, the performance was pieced together with bits, bobs, ups, downs.

For those who’ve witnessed their appearances at festivals in recent years – rejoice! – you missed little, the show was very much a recycled song-list comprising only of big hits and lacking the ‘unexpected’.

Instrumentally, vocally, production-wise – the band was brilliant, every member, drummer Paris Jeffree (it was her birthday!) a particular standout on percussion.

Avalanches.2Image © Zoe Russell

Robbie Chater demonstrated plenty of multi-instrumental prowess, switching from bass, to drums, to turntable; Nareem Juwan is evidently an outstanding rapper.

I may have only been six-years-old when they released their debut album though now, I feel I can comprehend the impact it had on both the industry and listeners alike. Such an incredible work of art, wow-factor stemming from innovation and originality though also deriving from the painstaking effort required to produce it.

It’s no secret the band’s enigmatic 16-year silence, after receiving so much critical acclaim, was one regarded with ceaseless anticipation, and confusion.

Some call it a comeback, though like 'The Garden State', double denim and The Strokes, I’d say The Avalanches are one naughties highlight that always remained relevant.

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