Gig Reviews

The Avalanches, Ziggy Ramo — Perth Festival, Chevron Gardens 25/02/18

Mid-way into the Perth Festival, The Avalanches proved to be the main drawcard on the music lineup this year, after selling out only moments after tickets went on sale last October.

17 years ago, The Avalanches released Since I Left You, which to this day is regarded as one of the best electronic albums of all time globally. Then, after many setbacks and delays — 16 years worth to be exact — their follow up sophomore album, Wildflower reminded us all why The Avalanches are so unique and groundbreaking in the music space.

Now, the Chevrons Gardens, benefiting from perfect weather, draws a crowd of spectators flowing over into the outside surrounds, proving that even on a Sunday night, Perth can show the rest of the country just how to party.

Inside the main stage area, Ziggy Ramo kicks off proceedings with a powerful and energetic mix of hip-hop, infusing political and cultural messages thoughout. An important new figure in Indigenous music, his lyrics go straight for the jugular.

Even though half of the crowd was still trickling in through his set, Ziggy and production partner JCAL land party-fuelled hip-hop anthems, bustout dance moves and fuel the swelling crowd with lyrics laden with truths that are both confronting and positive.

After a 20-minute interval, Melbourne’s The Avalanches walk out to a full house. The band’s live set showcases the talents of its two main founding members, Robbie Chater and Tony Di Blasi, plus a powerhouse performance by Sydney drummer Paris Jeffree, Spank Rock on rap and Eliza Wolfgramm on vocal duties.

The difficult part of recreating The Avalanches in a live setting comes down to how their albums are made. With over 2,000+ samples interwoven across each LP, it’s literally impossible to recreate the multiple layers from live instruments.

However, adding a live drummer, electric and acoustic guitars (performed by Chater), triggered samples and keys (Chater and Di Blasi) plus live vocals and rap definitely adds a sense of spontaneity and dimension to the performance.

Kicking off the set with two tracks off their new album Wildflower, ‘Because I’m Me’ and ‘Frankie Sinatra’, the crowd of seasoned and new fans quickly become ready to throw down for a tight hour of mashup mayhem, Avalanches style.

Spank Rock works the crowd throughout, replacing Biz Marke’s rap on ‘The Noisey Eater’ with fresh rhymes, while Wolfgramm delivers powerful vocals over the top of old tracks, culminating mid-set with the duo performing Spank Rock’s 2006 hit, ‘Bump’.

The second half of the set comprises of crowd-pleaser ‘Frontier Psychiatrist’, introduced via a psychedelic cut of Nina Simone’s ‘Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood’. Di Biasi even brings out a theremin, adding an extra kooky dimension to their already iconic master-stroke. Later in the set, Di Biasi also takes on some vocal duties for ‘If I Was A Folkstar’.

A short encore finishing with ‘Since I Left You’ is a satisfying note to end a perfect Sunday night in the city with one of Australia’s most talented electronic groups.

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