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Movies Made for Music at the Vancouver International Film Festival

Movies Made for Music at the Vancouver International Film Festival

By Paris Spence-Lang VANCOUVER – VIFF is one of those perennial events that seems to get better every year. “It’s…

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The Avalanches w/ Hubbz Live at the Commodore Ballroom

Monday 17th, July 2017 / 15:25
By Max Hill

Photo by Galen Robinson-Exo

Commodore Ballrom
July 13, 2017

Back in the early aughts, the Avalanches were well-known for their explosive live shows in support of their classic LP Since I Left You. Having disappeared for 16 years before surprising fans with a long-awaited sophomore record, the question on everyone’s mind was: will they still have the same spark in their live performances? As it turns out, the answer is both yes and no.

Photo by Galen Robinson-Exo

Opener Hubbz set the mood nicely, playing a DJ set dominated by old school hip-hop and R&B. In contrast to the Avalanches’ mostly-digital act, Hubbz was all analogue, bringing along two cases of 45s to scratch.

Photo by Galen Robinson-Exo

Once they made their way onto the stage, the Avalanches wasted no time in getting started, opening with a rollicking performance of “Because I’m Me.” Band members Robbie Chater and Tony Di Blasi stayed on the sidelines for most of the performance, making room for their touring members: drummer Paris Jeffree added a human touch to an electronic set, whereas rapper Spank Rock and belter Eliza Wolfgramm commandeered the crowd with live renditions of some of the band’s biggest hits.

Photo by Galen Robinson-Exo

While both Rock and Wolfgramm had undeniable stage presence, there’s something a little strange about human voices replicating plunderphonics, leading to seemingly endless repetition in numbers like “Flight Tonight” and “Subway.” The two did their best to recreate the magic of the originals, but it often felt more like a cover band than the genuine article.

Photo by Galen Robinson-Exo

That’s not to say the show didn’t have its highs. “If I Was a Folkstar” saw Di Blasi joining in on the vocals with an energetic performance, while showstopper “Since I Left You” brought more than enough warmth to an already-sweaty concert. The set ended on a high note and didn’t overstay its welcome — better to leave them wanting more than wanting it to end.

Photo by Galen Robinson-Exo

While the show might not have matched the high of the Avalanches’ famous earlier shows, it still had plenty to offer to fans and newcomers alike.

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