Following an incredible flurry of snow in Mayrhofen over the past week, Altitude 2016 kicked off its 10th Birthday year in hilarious fashion yesterday. Opening the night at the Sports Bar in the Strass Hotel was a masterclass in improv from Altitude veterans Steve Frost, Andre Vincent, Andy Smart and Ian Coppinger. Entertaining the packed room with skits based loosely around Sunderland, planets exploding and Chile, their talent shone through, with incredibly quick witted lines throughout, ensuring the audience were adequately warmed up for the sensational night ahead.
On to the Gala show, and Andrew Maxwell welcomed the crowds as MC, ruthlessly and skilfully targeting audience members, much to everyone’s comical delight. Birmingham city’s unbelievable slogan, a witty take on Irish politics mixed together with some very badly timed musical intros meant that the Altitude curator gave the crowd what they wanted and more before introducing the first acts.
First up at the Gala show in the Europahaus was Jamali Maddix, a young, bearded, self-confessed burglar. He quickly reminded the Mayrhofen crowd why they loved him so much last year, beaming with confidence he rolled off amazing stories based on real life situations such as peer pressure, racism, strippers, eggs and of course, when he got hit by a brick. Next was Altitude co-founder and snow expert, Marcus Brigstocke who dealt the audience a healthy dose of laughter. Playing on the friendly rivalry between skiing and snowboarding, Marcus knew his crowd and loved it. The interval arrived, and already the Europahaus had hosted two headline worthy sets!
Andrew Maxwell introduced the second half of the Gala show looking forward to two Altitude virgins that he’d been trying to book for years. And boy, was it worth the wait. Stephen K Amos thrilled the crowd with risqué tales of race, sexuality, travel and the gracious process of aging, keeping the audience engaged, enthralled and in hysterics. Jim Jefferies’ Austrian premiere cut straight to the chase, opening with his thoughts on Bill Cosby, recalling his mum’s experience with Polio and kidnapping his own son for vaccinations, only to be told he was the one with autism! Jefferies skilfully referenced his own controversy and gave the Europahaus crowd a fascinating insight into the mind of a minor celebrity. What a first night it had been so far.
The Late Show lived up to all expectations for the climax of the first night of Altitude’s tenth birthday, with stonking sets from Joel Dommett, Daniel Sloss, Sophie Hagen, Forrest Shaw,Kai Humphries and Stephen K Amos taking curation duties. If the rest of the week is as good as this, it will surely be Altitude’s best ever! See you tonight for more fun and frolics with Abandoman, Michael Mittermeier, Katherine Ryan and loads more!