Words Stefan Putwain \ Simon Kneller
Pictures (C) Adrian Hextall
You could tell the anticipation of a great night was evident as the queue stretched down the road on welcoming Avatar to Bristol. People travelled far and wide to get here. And Dylan Walshe and later The Mahones did their best to warm up the crowd. The Mahones in particular had plenty of folk-inspired punk tunes to rip through. Guillaume Lauzon, replete with glowing drumsticks, set his kit ablaze with the fury of his tub-thumping. The band originally set up for a St Patrick’s Day party, determined that Bristol should get in the moment for the craic. ‘The Irish Brigade’, ‘Shakespeare Road’ and ‘Paint The Town Red’ notable tunes to get us all jigging along.
In support of their latest release, ‘Avatar Country’, Avatar are bringing their full stage show on this tour. And it’s not hard to see why people were putting in the miles to see them.
As the stage was being prepared and the excitement building, there was a huge curtain covering a multitude of lights, walkways, gadgets, lecterns and thrones beyond. As the curtain dropped, Avatar appear one by one, but then announce themselves with audacity and pomp. Johannes Eckerström, the perfect frontman for a well-rehearsed stage show as this. His vocals covering all disciplines, from singing (and nailing everything!) to growling and gutterals. Simply amazing range and performance. There are few that can match his showmanship in this era.
The musicianship from the band made it clear that their music means business and the following they have gleaned means that Avatar are here to stay. The sparklers shooting out from the throne, whilst Jonas ‘Kungen’ Jarlsby executes faultless melodic death metal from his guitar and the lights beaming out the name give this show even more gusto. They opened with ‘A Statue Of The King’, which introduced us to the night of entertainment in store for us.
A quick change around in the set, to replace the lectern, with the throne now centre stage, adeptly executed by the Avatar ‘minions’. ‘Kungen’ then showed us exactly why his guitar sings when his fingers connect with the frets starting up ‘Legend Of The King’. Perfect melodic death metal! Right to the end with ‘The King Welcomes You To Avatar Country’ and ‘Hail The Apocalypse’.
In between set changes and the band covering every inch of the stage in the process, delivering a faultless set. You can’t help but get taken on the wave of enthusiasm that Avatar create, from all of the sideshow effects, the songs are popular and whip the crowd into a frenzy. The well-choreographed windmills of the bassist Henrik Sandelin and guitarist Tim Ohrstrom seemingly make it as though Avatar have thought about every aspect of their live performance. But this is now a well-oiled machine that cruises through night.
I can’t talk highly enough of this performance, everyone leaving with a smile on their face and probably a sore neck. I came to the gig very new to the Avatar experience and I left incredibly impressed and suitably entertained. If you can get to an Avatar gig, I highly recommend them!
A Statue Of The King
Legend Of The King
Paint Me Red
For The Swarm
Get In Line
The Eagle Has Landed
Let It Burn
King After King
Smells Like A Freakshow
The King Welcomes You To Avatar Country
Hail The Apocalypse