By Fred Peth
It was great to see this hard working and dedicated band back in Chicago. Avatar was again at House of Blues, this time headlining the night to a nearly sold out crowd. They are continuing their success on their seventh studio album Avatar Country. They have constantly been touring this album since it came out in January of last year and have taken it all across North America and Europe spreading the word of the King a couple times over.
Avatar had their double-decker stage design set up with their name lit up in front of the curtain backdrop. Jonas “Kungen” Jarlsby rose to the stage in his grand throne behind the drum riser. The King opened the night with his glorious riff beginning the song A Statue Of The King. Johannes Eckerström took to the podium that was positioned in the center of the stage with Henrik Sandelin and Tim Öhrström on opposite sides. Once Jonas started playing the crowd’s screams turned louder filling the room. The crowd sung in unison with Johannes as he acted like an orchestra conductor.
The crowd got more amped up as Johannes led Jonas to the center of the stage were his throne was moved to so the crowd had the best view of his guitar playing. Johannes took his position behind the drum riser to sing Legend Of The King. The audience graciously responded with cheers and a mosh pit showing their excitement.
Not only was Avatar’s playing incredible, so were the lighting effects. It has been just over three years, since I have been following the band and the lighting becomes more intense. The night became more profound as we were transitioned into the song Let It Burn. This was another great song that had Tim, Henrik, Jonas and Johannes twirling their hair in unison following John’s beat on his drums.
Johannes stated from his heart, “Because we know something. We know we are completely lucky to be up here, completely honored to have earned and deserved your trust! And respect through blood, sweat and tears!” Many bands say something similar that they are fortunate to be performing for an audience, but Avatar shows and believes that. Which is another reason why you will not see Avatar charge for a “meet-n-greet”.
You can see them next at The Aragon Ballroom opening up for Baby Metal on September 20th. This might be the last time we see the glorious king and his merry men welcoming us to Avatar County. Not saying that they are breaking up, because they are definitely staying together to play the music they love. The guys like to push themselves into new areas of putting an album together. The album Feathers and Flesh brought us through a fictional journey of failure, fear, loss and death. While the album Avatar Country transcended us into a world of celebration and joy. So what could be next for this Swedish group? Whatever it is going to be, I am sure it is going to have shredding guitars, deep drum beats, screams and shouts and numerous horns in the air!
For more on Avatar, click here
For photos from the show at House of Blues Chicago, click here
Setlist, Avatar live in Chicago at House of Blues Chicago May 22, 2019