@ MYTH LIVE, MAPLEWOOD (SAINT PAUL), MINNESOTA (MN)
SEPTEMBER 21, 2019
A large thunderstorm rolled past just north of MYTH LIVE in Maplewood (Saint Paul), Minnesota as the line for entry formed across the parking lot and into the next. The rumble of thunder and the lightning amongst the clouds were no match for what AVATAR had in store.
They opened their 45-minute circus stylized set with “Hail the Apocalypse” and immediately frontman and ringmasterJohannes Michael Gustaf Eckerström led his bandmates — drummer John Alfredsson, guitarists Kungen and Tim Öhrström, and bassist Henrik Sandelin — in the sideshow that is AVATAR. The tightly choreographed lightshow and head banging allowed each member their time in the limelight and creative license throughout the set. Johannes’ commanding presence encouraged crowd participation with call and response and mimicry-type interactions that included chants and fist pumping to which the crowd gladly obliged.
As the show began to come to a close, the frontman alluded to their time running out, to which the crowd began cheerfully demanding, “One more song!”, over and over. He responded with, “Saint Paul! If we don’t go away, how will you miss us?”, which appeased the crowd.
The MYTH erupts! The moment they had been waiting for had arrived. “If they say we sound like a freak show.” he exclaimed through the roar of the crowd and kicked off their final song of the night “Smells Like a Freak Show”.
As the set came to a close, Johannes requested the crowd take care of themselves and be kind to one another before once last call of “We are…AVATAR!” the crowd responded multiple times growing in volume until the animated ringmaster and his intense supporting musicians left the stage.
Only a longer set could have made their performance any better. From the costume design and makeup, to the sound and lighting, AVATAR is a band that has the potential to turn their sideshow into a full-fledged three-ring circus. An event I recommend experience at least once.
(Photography by Scott Allen Cornell)