Avatar Flies in Pinellas Park

By on January 27, 2016

 

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Johannes Eckerström (Photo Travis Failey 2016)

There are bands and musicians and there are bands with Rock Stars. On Sunday at England Brothers Park in St. Petersburg, the fans weathered the elements and witnessed the later. Avatar from Gothenberg, Sweden took the small band shell stage and dominated the lineup that included 7 bands headlined by P.O.D. and Hell Yeah.

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Johannes Eckerström, Jonas Jarisby & John Alfredsson (Photo Travis Failey 2016)

Avatar is not a flash in the pan though. Avatar has been around since 2001 when the band was formed by drummer John Alfredsson under the name Lost Soul. Avatar replaced Lost Soul as the name of the band and they released two EPs in 2004 in Sweden and their first full length cd in 2006. Avatar also released other albums predominately in Europe and started to pick up steam across the pond by supporting bands like In Flames, Obituary and Helloween.

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Jonas Jarisby & Henrik Sandelin (Photo Travis Failey 2016)

Avatar would get their big break in the States when they were provided the opportunity to open for Lacuna Coil and Sevendust following their 2012 Black Waltz release. This also coincided with their now trademark attire which includes Johannes Eckerström’s extreme clown face makeup. Since that tour, Avatar have also gone out on the road in support of Five Finger Death Punch and Avenged Sevenfold.

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Johannes Eckerström (Photo Travis Failey 2016)

With Black Waltz and their previous releases, Avatar’s sound consisted more in the vein of death metal than in their newest release Hail the Apocalypse. Hail still contains elements of death metal but the songs are more anthem based and with the help of Sirius XM’s Octane channel and rabid touring, Avatar has developed a huge following. This was evident on a Sunday at the park.

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Tim Öhrström (Photo Travis Failey 2016)

Avatar is fronted by the charismatic front man, Johannes Eckerström who brings more than just a made up pretty face to the rock show. His energy and range throughout their limited six song set was evident and his stage presence reminds me of Sebastian Bach.

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Johannes Eckerström (Photo Travis Failey 2016)

Avatar opened with their first single and title track from Hail the Apocalype and the other members of the band provided a combination of sounds that accented Eckerstrom’s vocals perfectly. Dual guitarists, Jonas Jarisby and Tim Ohrström combine together to make their guitars sound like saws working overtime in a lumber yard filled with metal rods. This sound reminds me of old-school industrial ala Ministry, one of Avatar’s stated influences.

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Jonas Jarisby, Johannes Eckerström &Tim Öhrström (Photo Travis Failey 2016)

“Hail the Apocalype” also includes a neck breaking driving beat by drummer John Alfredsson and bassist Henrik Sandelin and their fans responded as they thrashed about while hanging onto the white picket fence. Yes, there was a white picket fence that was used as a barrier to separate the bands from their fans. If anyone has seen this before, please tweet me @travisrsen.

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(Photo Travis Failey 2016)

Avatar played their most recognizable songs Including “Let It Burn, and “Bloody Angel” but the highlight of their set was also the closing song. “Smells Like a Freakshow” was a catalyst for the first “pit” of the day and the connection from the stage to fans was magnetic. It is this reaction from the fans is what makes Avatar work. The music is driving and the show is engaging. It’s a perfect formula that goes back to the days of Alice Cooper and is working today for other bands like Ghost and Motionless in White.

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Jonas Jarisby (Photo Travis Failey 2016)

There are big things coming for Avatar in 2016.  Their U.S. tour with September Mourning is ongoing and they are one of the bands on the bill for the “World Loudest Month” festivals (http://worldsloudestmonth.com/) in April and May. By playing to these larger crowds this spring, Avatar will have the opportunity to gain more fans in the States and sell more tickets…. to their own version of the electric circus.

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Johannes Eckerström (Photo Travis Failey 2016)

For tour dates and more information on Avatar http://avatarmetal.com/instudio/

Setlist:

Hail The Apocalypse

Let It Burn

Get in Line

Bloody Angel

Paint Me Red

Smells Like a Freakshow

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(Photo Travis Failey 2016)

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(Photo Travis Failey 2016)

 

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(Photo Travis Failey 2016)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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