Archive for the ‘Avatar’ Category

[ATTENDED: September 5, 2021] Avatar

When Avatar announced they were playing TLA I knew I wanted to see them again.  When they opened for Babymetal, I was blown away by what a show they put on–for an opening act.  I imagined that when they headlined, it would be even more amazing.

It wasn’t more amazing (I was actually more impressed by their lights last time) but it was certainly a lot of fun–an even more fun since the audience was there to see them.

Their gear was set up and then a small drumkit was brought to the front of the stage (which was pretty unusual).  Then the five of them walked out and stood in a tight v formation.  After a lengthy pause with all five of them staring at us, drummer John Alfredsson began hitting out a loud snare beat.  Then the guitars started playing and singer Johannes Eckerström–dressed like a ringmaster, his face covered in white paint with (scary) clown makeup on–began singing the fantastic growling anthem “Colossus.”  The band played the entire sing in that tight V shape and from my vantage point when both guitarists played the same solo it was like a multi-armed beast on stage.

They followed that up with “Let it Burn” and then the stage went black.  The crew removed the tiny drum set and the band left the stage briefly while Alfredsson climbed up on top of his full sized kit.  When the band came back out they utilized the full stage and when they started “Silence in the Age if Apes” (the actual first song on the new album) the full synchronized headbanging extravaganza was under way.

Both guitarists take some time to show off, although never for too long.  In fact, when they started soloing, it was usually over by the time I had the camera ready.  Jonas “Kungen” Jarlsby and Tim Öhrström (“he’s single, ladies”) both took turns at the front of the stage.  Although it was Jarlsby who stood up front to play the slow pretty intro of “Bloody Angel.” (more…)

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[ATTENDED: September 5, 2021] Magic Sword

When Avatar announced they were playing TLA I knew I wanted to see them again.  When they opened for Babymetal, I was blown away by what a show they put on–especially for an opening act.  I imagined that when they headlined, it would be even more amazing.

I was pretty psyched that the opening band was going to be Magic Sword.  I had recently been getting into their brand of instrumental 80’s sci-fi/metal soundtrack kind of music (I don’t really know what else you’d call it) and I was pretty excited to see it live.

There are three members: The Keeper (red, keyboard, audio-visual), The Seer (blue, guitar), and The Weaver (yellow, drums).  Oh yes, they are all masked (and not COVID masked, but like a fencing mask with a glowing light (in the above color) for the eyes).  All of their songs are pretty heavy with a main riff (and bass) coming from the keys (and sometimes guitar) and really heavy drums.  And then The Seer plays some extended impressive and super catchy guitar solos.

Every song feels like the exultant triumph of a cheesy 80s sci fi movie.  Which is not to say that their music is cheesy (it really rocks) but that it would be placed in a cheesy movie–and would sound great. (more…)

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[ATTENDED: September 13, 2019] Avatar 

I have grown to really dislike the Fillmore (which is not how I felt almost exactly three years ago).  The sound is always excellent and it’s a nice big stage, but I feel the venue is too big and, more often than not the crowd is really unpleasant.  I’m sure this is because I’m a priss, but I don’t need rude people around more interested in the bar than the music, me pushing for no reason (a mosh pit is a good reason to push, but not much else is), and talking through a show.  It’s especially irritating with quieter bands.   Fortunately, Avatar is not quiet.

I had not heard of Avatar when it was announced that they’d be opening for Babymetal.  I didn’t really know who would pair up with Babymetal’s brand of JPopMetal.  Rather than going for another Japanese metal band (of which there are dozens of great ones to choose) they went with a more theatrical outfit.  And if Babymetal’s stage show weren’t as spectacular as it was, Avatar would have blown them away.

Avatar is a metal band from Sweden.  They formed in 2001. They started out as a “melodic death metal” band.  I’ve never quite understood this phrase, but Wikipedia tells me

The genre combines aspects of traditional heavy metal [like] fast riffing and harmonic guitar lines, with the heavily distorted guitars, fast double-bass drum patterns and occasional blast beats of death metal. The vocal style typically combines harsh screaming and growling with melodic singing.

On their first two albums, singer Johannes Eckerström emphasized the growling vocal style.  They became more melodic (with some growling and some singing) and then for their fourth album, Black Waltz, Eckerström added a “Clown” persona.

Since then, the Avatar show has become a, quite frankly, amazing spectacle. (more…)

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