Live Review: The Avalanches, Grandmaster Flash

4 January 2017 | 1:34 pm | Bryget Chrisfield

"They now present a slick, world-class show. Phew! The Avalanches are Coachella-ready."

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You'd have to be a total dipshit not to arrive in time to see legendary DJ Grandmaster Flash's entire set.

He opens with Chic's Good Times, during which there are many, "Put your hands up!" interruptions by the man himself. It's 8pm and we're just warming up, but the Grandmaster is having none of it and takes to the mic to drum home the three rules we must follow during his show: 1) If Grandmaster Flash tells us to put our hands in the air, we do so; 2) If Grandmaster Flash tells us to make some noise, we make a racket; 3) If we know the lyrics to a song, sing the lyrics to the song. He sounds like an army drill sergeant barking at us to "make some NOOOOISE!!!!" and then, after telling the sound guy to turn it up, we're treated to Earth, Wind & Fire's September ("Ba dee ya/Say do you remember/Ba dee ya/Dancing in September") and it's all of the feels. From Suzanne Vega's Tom's Diner to the song that's used in The Apprentice's opening credits (For The Love Of Money by The O'Jays), Grandmaster certainly cuts faster - no sooner do we recognise a song and sing along than he ADD-mixes into another smash hit from the vault. Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five's The Message into Stayin' Alive by Bee Gees? Pure perfection. Other highlights include Beyonce's Crazy In Love, I've Got The Power (Snap!) and Fatman Scoop's Be Faithful - what a vibe! We're now very concerned for The Avalanches: will they be able to maintain/surpass the euphoric scene Grandmaster Flash sets?

There's a mad dash out front for (jazz) cigarettes and then we establish a decent vantage point with room to groove on the dancefloor. A black banner across the back of the stage features the Wildflower butterfly and we wish and hope that The Avalanches have worked on their set (as has been reported) since we last saw them at Splendour In The Grass 2016. Actual musicians take their positions (drums, guitar as well as consoles) and we hold our collective breath. Then Because I'm Me's brass blasts coax smiles to dials and hands in the air. Exhale. The Avalanches are back! Spank Rock is a formidable presence up there, pogoing around like a joy conductor. Wait a sec, who's that on guitar? He's wearing sunnies, so we can't be sure. [Ed note — Rob Chater was reportedly ill and unable to play the gig. Jonti Danilewitz was on guitar.] It was lacklustre at Splendour, but The Avalanches' comeback single Frankie Sinatra equals the masterpiece it is on record tonight - whatever they've done to get their live show on track; we're well impressed and eternally grateful. But why can't we purchase Eliza Wolfgramm's camo jacket with Frankie Sinatra patch from the merch? Want!  

Other belters include Radio and A Different Feeling (with those awesome pew-pew sounds that make us feel as if we're being pinged off into the stratosphere). Wolfgramm's Subways vocals are pure perfection and the awesome accompanying video graces the stage's back screen. How fun would it be to do The Nutbush to Subways? Swoon alert: Oscar Key Sung's voice is like an angel hovering above sounds akin to Sonic The Hedgehog obtaining some rings during If I Was A Folkstar. We score a bit of The Animals' Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood by way of intro into the gloriously nutty Frontier Psychiatrist, which makes us feel as if we're coming up on a handful of pingers (and may need a psychiatric evaluation later). That music video, though! Google immediately! The visuals are amazing throughout tonight's performance, incorporating the songs' accompanying music videos between expertly edited footage from actual films that makes it look as if the action rolls together; it's hypnotising and The Noisy Eater is almost overshadowed by the onscreen brilliance.

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We know there's gonna be an encore, 'cause we're yet to hear Since I Left You. For this career-highlight smash hit there's some synchronised dance moves on stage, but the performers aren't the stars here (do we even care that there's only one OG Avalanche in Tony Di Blasi up there this evening?) and the stage is dimly lit throughout. Something about The Avalanches makes us wish for Gorillaz, which is tough for The Avalanches. But there's been some kinda voodoo magic in The Avalanches rehearsal studios and they now present a slick, world-class show. Phew! The Avalanches are Coachella-ready.