When the video for I Am The Avalanche's 177 comes out, you won’t need to read this review. You won’t need to be told how insane the crowd reaction is to that song, how tight the band are, or hear about the very tangible electricity that flows through its performance. You won’t need to be told how impassioned those two-and-a-half minutes or so are, because you’ll be able to experience it all for yourself.
I Am The Avalanche, live in New York
Venue: Saint Vitus
Brooklyn's finest blow up the neighbourhood
Shot live at this sold out headline gig – the first show of a short tour that will see them through to the start of August – the video should still reveal that this is a band at the absolute height of their very formidable power.
It’s not just for that one song. It’s like that from the very beginning of their set – a ferocious run-through of Two Runaways – through to their now-traditional sign-off of Brooklyn Dodgers. Even when, towards the end of the set, they play 177 again for the video shoot, it burns with the same intensity, a bright if bruised beacon of hope and inspiration. Yet there’s nuance and subtlety to their pounding anthems, too. For the first time ever, the band play Where Were You?, and it shimmers with glowering sadness and regret, slightly slowed down but still packing one hell of a punch. The tired lament of Green Eyes is similarly delicate and restrained – at least at first. It soon ignites into an urgent singalong that threatens to burst through the walls of the venue.
Although afterwards he complains about nearly losing it, Vinnie Caruana’s voice is as strong and fierce as ever, his vocals chords practically bleeding from the emotion he expounds. Holy Fuck is, aptly, a true holy fuck moment – the crowd as feral and unhinged as the passion that courses through the song, while Amsterdam and The Gravedigger’s Argument temper the catchiest, poppiest hooks with raw, aggressive force. Young Kerouacs, too, is a song of multiple personalities, a belligerent, driven and unforgiving tune that suddenly gives way to a chorus of such inspiring, overwhelming positivity (very much in spite of its lyrics) that the whole place erupts. Again. Because this is a night of constant eruptions, savage explosions of unfettered, honest emotion that visibly connect with everybody present.
Whatever song they’re playing you get the sense that I Am The Avalanche would give their lives for the people with them in the room, and vice versa. So when the riotous rendition of Brooklyn Dodgers brings this Friday night to an end, an immediate sense of loss takes over, that one of the best punk rock bands around today are done with one of the best sets they’ve ever played. But it’s okay. Because when the video for 177 comes out, those who were there will be able to relive it all over again, while those who weren’t will be able to enjoy the band’s pure magic for themselves. As that song so succinctly states: "We don't wanna leave / We never really have to leave."