In 2014, I purchased tickets to see one of my favorite bands, Sevendust, not knowing the opening acts. Getting there early enough to get to the rail is an achievement for someone in a wheelchair, but I found my spot and refused to budge. Nope, moving wasn’t going to happen. After the local band performed, the stage was set and went dark for the next performance. The first strains of a guitar started and out marched this person (I still had no idea who) in black boots, black pants, black duster, and yes, a black hood. What the hell had I gotten myself into?
I honestly can’t tell you what the song was other than to say it was pretty awesome. I soon forgot I had no idea about the band. For the next song, the lead divested himself of the hood and duster to reveal a demented ring master. That is exactly what the lead singer, Johannes Eckerström, was as he led the audience through the performance, drawing attention, and musically forcing the crowd to bend to the band’s will.
Hail the Apocalypse (2014) was the album that continued my fascination with Avatar. I couldn’t get enough. “Smells Like a Freakshow” from Black Waltz became my mantra. I watched them on YouTube countless times and cranked up the volume whenever they came on the radio. My teenage son tried to stage an intervention that was unsuccessful. I was hooked and Avatar was my drug.
Enter 2015, with the announcement Avatar would be accompanying Shiprocked. My girly squeals reverberated through the house as I realized I would once again experience Avatar live. It’s hard to see all there is to see on Shiprocked. It is inevitable to miss a band or two, but I willingly threw it all away to be a member of the “freakshow.” They did not disappoint and the ring master once again led the audience through the performance in a way unique to Eckerström.
In 2016, Avatar released its sixth album Feather & Flesh, a fable that musically tells the story of the battle between the ruler of the night, the owl, and the monarch of the day, the eagle. The album’s tracks are laid in such a way the story is told through the music, yet each song stands alone by its own merit. It was also during 2016 Shiprocked announced Avatar is once again on the lineup for 2017 (Cue the fan girling). Avatar is high on my “must see” list and even higher on the “must see twice” agenda, as we will once more rock the ocean.
The members of Avatar are Johannes Eckerström (vocals), Jonas Jarlsby (guitar), Tim Öhrström (guitar), Henrik Sandelin (bass guitar), and John Alfredsson (drums).