Avatar at the Observatory in Santa Ana, California 7/30/22
Swedish melodic death metal band Avatar released their eighth studio album Hunter Gatherer in 2020. Last year they finally toured for the album and this year, came back for more. The venue this time was the Observatory in Santa Ana, California. This time, Avatar brought with them metalcore band Light the Torch and The Callous Daoboys. A Saturday was perfect for a show like this and even better that it was almost sold out so for sure it would be a packed and hot show. After both opening bands warmed up the audience, it was time for Avatar to hit the stage.
The lights went out and the audience cheered as the members of Avatar came out and took center stage in the form of a V. Even joining them on stage was drummer John Alfredsson who had a small drum kit set up so he can be next to his bandmates. Avatar started their performance with Colossus, the third single from their newest album. Up next was the fan-favorite, Let It Burn. With this song, Avatar reverted back to their regular selves and started moving around more, banging their heads and whipping their long hair around and around. Singer Johannes Eckerström is the most energetic member of the band as he constantly dances on stage and is most known for the many different faces he makes while performing. The third song was the first single from the new album, Silence in the Age of Apes. Avatar is a highly energetic band as the constantly interact with each other and entertain the audience every chance they get. Their lighting is also beautiful and it was shown when they played Bloody Angel; the stage was bathed in a beautiful red light. In between songs, Eckerström would speak to the audience and usually make them laugh with jokes and puns. Avatar played nothing but hits as well as songs from the newest album. Avatar rocked the house as they played hits like Paint Me Red, The Eagle Has Landed and A Secret Door. A little more than halfway through the show and Eckerström spoke to the audience how they may have noticed how their bassist Henrik was missing. He made note that Henrik had to leave the tour due to a family matter, but assured the fans that everything was ok. Or, according to Eckerström, MAYBE that's what they wanted to believe and, in fact, it was the band themselves that did something to him. Nearing the end of the show, Avatar went back to their previous album Avatar Country and played A Statue of the King. A nice taste of speed metal. The final song of the night was the fan-favorite The King Welcomes You to Avatar Country and it's one of their more cheerful songs that's also fun to sing along to. As if that wasn't enough, they had bubble machines and covered the audience with bubbles. The song ended and the members left the stage. After a little while, Eckerström came back out to speak to the audience some more and after some convincing from the audience, decided to treat them to some encores. The rest of the band came back out to play Going Hunting, a new song released in 2021. Eckerström was once again left on stage by himself talking to the audience and addressed how it smells. He smelled his own armpits and said it smells like a freakshow. Fans knew the next song which is one of Avatar's best songs, Smells Like a Freakshow. Sadly, the show had to come to an end for real. To end the show, Avatar played their best song, Hail the Apocalypse. Mosh pits happened, hair flipping was everywhere, horns were raised and everything else that makes a metal show metal. Avatar gathered together, bowed before their fans and left the stage. Fans were left with nothing but smiles and even though they just finished playing, couldn't wait for them to come back again. Even better that they're currently working on a new album which means more music in the near future!
Photos and review by Misael Ruiz