Out and About: Avalanche City at Highline Ballroom
  • WEDNESDAY, JUNE 27, 2012

  • Posted by: Amanda Scherker

The intimacy of the NYC Highline Ballroom makes it the perfect place to watch a performance by Avalanche City. Their live act is frank, without pretension, and it's utterly enjoyable. The group is the brainchild of Dave Baxter, and the music is out-charmed only by its Genesis Story: Dave wrote and recorded the entire album in the countryside and originally released it for free. It exploded onto the New Zealand music scene, and the rest is history.

The music itself is marvelously creative -- and watching the sheer ingenuity of it reenacted live makes it even more impressive to imagine Dave painstakingly recording every single instrument of every track. The musicians who perform live with him are excellent, as they swiftly switch from instrument to instrument, and sometimes even cover two at the same time. It'll make that last time you saw somebody simultaneously work the fiddle and the xylophone seem like child's play.

But ultimately, this is Dave's show, as Avalanche City was Dave's solo creation. So it's fitting that the most intoxicating part of the performance was Dave's voice, which fills every corner of the room with the warmth and joy of someone who really loves their craft. Dave's excitement at playing his newest track, "Sunset" is palpable. It's horn accompaniment is unexpected, and somehow perfect. As the musicians whip out a double xylophone accompaniment on "All My Life," you'll realize there's a simple magic to it all.

Listen to the most popular single "Love Love Love" below, starring Avalanche City's spirit animal, the penguin. (Indeed, in a gesture of impossible cuteness, Dave even had a stuffed penguin attached to his microphone.) Whether you watch them live and shake Dave's hand after the performance or just listen to them on your iPod, Avalanche City will effortlessly charm its way into your heart. The pure joy of the music and the quirky array of instruments accompanying his full-bodied voice makes this folk music irresistible. We were lucky enough to get a chance to talk with Dave about his music, Avalanche City's US tour, and, naturally, penguins -- look out for the upcoming video interview right here on Baeble.

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