Festival season is well and truly in full swing, and for those who can’t attend any of the major camping festivals, there’s a seemingly endless plethora of sideshows to pick from in a city near you, and we may have just witnessed the best one. One of the most incredible comebacks in recent times has been the mighty Avalanches, who returned last year after a 16 year gap, delivering their stellar sophomore album Wildflower. With features from rappers including MF DOOM, Danny Brown and Biz Markie among others, the hip-hop influence was immediately clear on their sound as well as their famed use of sampling and turntablism. So when it was announced that none other than scratch maestro himself Grandmaster Flash would supporting the group, it made a lot of sense to combine the two (as strange as it is to see one of hip-hop’s earliest and most important names in an opening slot), and indeed, it worked a treat.
The Avalanches and Grandmaster Flash were both in town to perform at Falls Festival, and we were lucky to also catch them live in Melbourne at Melbourne Town Hall on January 3.
At 59 years old it was impressive to see the master still in action, no doubt feeling revitalised due to the sudden influx of attention he’s receiving right now thanks to Netflix programs The Get Down and Hip Hop Evolution.
Chances are the nobody in the crowd actually expected they’d get to catch The Avalanches live one day, making for an unforgettable experienced for all who attended. To be able to see a live performance of music crafted in such a thoroughly unique and painstaking manner, is matched by little else, particularly when brought to life by a full live band.
All images: Juan Castro for Howl & Echoes