Avalanche Party @ Band on the Wall, Manchester - 06/09/19 / Louder Live
Dusky autumn nights may be beginning to draw in once again, but last night, a whole different kind of darkness descended on Manchester’s Band on the Wall in the form of Avalanche Party, borne from the depths of darkest Yorkshire. A band who bow to nobody, Avalanche Party’s abandonment of much traditional musical form and structure in favour of exploration of the disturbing nature of human psyche has marked them out as a force to be reckoned with- a force that blasted its way through a chilly Northern evenings with fiery intensity.
Kicking off the night’s proceedings with a liberal dose of loosely buttoned shirts and long, flowing locks that had seemingly escaped from the 1970s, the ferocity which Naked Six’s opening notes launched across the room was totally unexpected! Tunes like ‘Granted’ brought elements of indie and hard rock, fused together with the sparking heat of a welding torch, while the grumbly ‘Midnight Drive’ hung on low-slung basslines and vocals packed with an earthy grit. Overlain with gambolling guitar lines that seemed almost in possession of a mind of their own, it was an impressive start from the boisterous trio.
The melodies of the stage’s successors, local lads Kashmere, blossomed into life- an apt turn of phrase, given their assimilation with their fellow indie Stockportians, Blossoms. Fazed-out synths wove their way through buttery guitars, as the band gave a performance as soft and airy as their name suggests- though sparks of an individual flair were still evident, in the electro-pop nuggets that glinted throughout ‘Tokyo’, and the arms-aloft sing-along that accompanied closer ‘Codeine’. While the short-lived attempt at a conga line may have been somewhat unsuccessful, the horizon-gazing bliss that coats their melody lines made sure that sunny festival days were not forgotten just yet!
Cast the net further afield, and you’ll find all the charming quirkiness of grunge-pop outfit Calva Louise. Boasting guitar lines that scythed and swung, alongside off-kilter vocal rhythms, tracks such as ‘Getting Closer’ blended high-pitched harmonising, married with groove-laden hard rock melodies. Rather like an amalgamation of all the experimental elements of the deepest depths of an off-piste record shop, drums pulsed from the centre of each track, at times adorned with visceral screams, and at others bursting with an effervescent energy like particularly vicious popping candy! A bright distortion enveloped the guitars on ‘Tug of War’, while ‘No Hay’ showcased vocalist Jess‘s native Spanish tongue- all uniquely, wonderfully weird!
With the arrival of eerie reverberations that creep up through your body, there was no doubt in anyone’s mind that headliners Avalanche Party, had, at last, arrived. And boy, did they mean business! Nobody was left unchallenged, as frontman Jordan Bell fixed the audience with a piercing stare that never wavered, even as the wall of screeching guitars pummelled against you with the force of a speeding bullet. Emanating a dark aura from the stage, the band’s ear-drum-shattering intensity began as abrasive as sandpaper, as all the unfettered energy of punk rock was harnessed by something more brittle, more feral, so much so that it almost left an acrid, metallic taste on your tongue. Not one inch of the stage was left unmarked by sweat, as Bell took on a performance duality all of his own- at times, the snake, slithering at floor level amongst the crowd; at other times, commanding the attention of the room as a snake charmer, as the cluster of ferociously banging heads remained transfixed on his every move. Once you overcame the sheer velocity of Avalanche Party’s looming presence, however, the intricacies of their performance began to shine through. Small noodlings of synth glimmered from time to time like chinks of light in the band’s dark armour, while danceable melodies advanced their line as the set progressed, stirring up the cluster of fans close to the stage into a dancing mob, limbs flailing with seemingly unhindered abandon! Oozing devil-may-care attitude from every pore, the grumbling baritone of the vocals exploded into a riot-inducing calamity by the time the band reached closer ‘Solid Gold’, with Bell riding on the shoulders of the crowd, almost entirely unhinged yet utterly enigmatic. If ever the word ‘frenzy’ was an appropriate descriptor for a show, Avalanche Party’s live performance encompasses that sentiment in spades. An experience rather like being pulled into the midst of a swirling tornado, it is one that your mind – and, indeed, your ears! – require ample preparation for, however, it is a dark, fearsome underworld that is utterly intoxicating.
Avalanche Party's debut album is scheduled for release on November 22nd. Check out the video for the first single from the record, '7', below:
Avalanche Party have several shows left of this run- dates and links for tickets can be found here.