Avatar has been around for a number of years. They were on the scene quite a while before I discovered them, via their PR push for Welcome to Rockville 2015. I have been a media-fan since. First it started with the energy in which their lead singer, Johannes Eckerstrom leaps about the stage and seduces each fan into a frenzy of metal bliss. Then, as I saw them multiple times, the musicianship and cohesiveness of the band began to shine through. These guys seem to be having as much fun playing as the fans do watching. There is a certain magic there that seems to be ever present. Perhaps an unspoken inspiration of the carnival like costumes, or their clown prince of Avatar Country.
On their final run through the US in support of the album Avatar Country, they found themselves in a very unique and fortuitous position. Opening for Baby Metal, they were nearly guaranteed to be playing to sold out crowds. The Ogden Theater in Denver, Colorado was no exception. The odd thing I found while working in the pit, was the other photographers had not shot the band before. Did not really know who they were. Maybe the lack of festivals in the Mid West has something to do with that discrepancy. The sold out crowd had a few Avatar faithful. I saw several t shirts. However, most of the crowd was certainly there for headliners, Baby Metal.
As the show began, the cheering was what one would expect at a typical show. Enthusiasm and anticipation fueled applause and screaming, but nothing special. Then Avatar took the stage, and stole the crowds hearts. The set was very short. I would have liked to have seen a bit more, but that is how it always goes for an opener. Playing favorites such as Hail the Apocalypse, Smells Like a Freakshow, The Eagle Has Landed, Bloody Angel, and A Statue of the King, they left fans craving more. Long time fans sang along, while newly acquired ones were left asking, “Why haven’t we seen these guys before?”
Avater played as great as ever, even after being on tour nearly all year, Johannes’ voice was strong and his enthusiasm with the crowds remains unparalleled. by the end of the set, many were hoping to catch an encore leaving no doubt Avatar will continue to grow their fan base and be playing larger shows in the near future.
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Words and Photos by: Belinda Glass Reedy ( Metallicougar)