Thanks to Covid this is only the third gig I have been to since March 14th, well that is if I count the Receivers set outside Vinyl Eddie’s for Record Store Day Drop 1 in August, and frankly I do count that one!. The second was an outdoor socially distanced show at the Centre for Early Music in York, Elkyn and Fawn played that one in September. But this is the first socially distanced indoor gig I have been to and huge praise and respect to Joe, Chris, Harkirit and all the staff who worked that night. It felt safe, drinks delivered direct to your table. Sure the rules on not singing, shouting and dancing were a bit weird, but it meant we were at a real gig at last. Special thanks and respect to the security guy who had to eject two people for blatant disregard of the rules. Even in these times some people are just dickheads!
Anyway on to the show, Avalanche Party are probably my favourite band in the world right now and 2020 should have been huge for them off the back of the release of their stunning debut album, ’24 Carat Diamond Trephine’ last year. But Covid and the ensuing shitstorm of a year has laid all the best plans to waste. I have seen Avalanche Party more than anyone except for Frank Turner and David Bowie so obviously I had high hopes for this show. I knew we wouldn’t get the usual raucous, sweaty, passionate, punky performance that we have come to expect, but I still had high hopes for the night.
They opened their first set with “Bugzy” with Jordan on keys and vocals, Jared on saxophone, playing in a very Bowie style and Harry from the Black Lagoons on acoustic guitar. This was followed by a magnificent electronic noisefest run through ace single “I’m So Wet”. “Johnny Dream” was like an outtake from ‘Lodger’ period Bowie. Some awesome bass runs from Joe on this one. Jared’s sax was also very Bowiesque too. Kane the drummer finally arrived for “Praise”, an older song, but one that remains epic and anthemic. Hot on the heels of praise was “Money” another true Avalanche Party anthem, and it seemed even more soulful and anthemic in this setting. It was turning into a wonderful Avalanche Party oldies fest as they closed the first set with “Let’s Get Together”, which makes me think that they have always had a bit of glam rock in them.
Perhaps the highlight of the second set were two cover versions, the Beatles “Tomorrow Never Knows” and a stunning take on the gospel classic “Wade In The Water” that one gave me goosebumps. “Howl” is a stupendous song and perhaps the bands finest single to date, it was great to hear it in such a stripped back form. Jordan sang a couple of songs solo on stage with only his keyboard to accompany him, one of these was “Rebel Forever” I think. Those two songs really showcased what a fantastically versatile vocalist he is, the bloke oozes soul and passion. “Every Last Drop” featured Harry from the Black Lagoons on violin and Jordan joked that this was Harry’s GCSE violin exam. Next was another great almost doo wop style cover of “It’s A Sin” by Canadian artist Tonetta, check him out he is bloody good. The band out did the Flying Pickets and the Housemartins for their classy acapella skills on this number. They closed with a barnstorming, consider it was a stripped back show, take on yet another classic, “Solid Gold”
This is a band who improve every time you see them. They are still on an upward trend and a long way from reaching their peak. They proved tonight that they can perform in any environment and if this type of show is the future of gigs for the foreseeable future then Avalanche Party have it nailed. A true joy to experience, even my wife, who has never seen them before, and to be fair this is not her usual taste in music, absolutely loved it!
All the photos were taken on my cheap Chinese phone, with the exception of the set list which was taken by Avalanche Party’s Joe Bell!
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