Avatar Turn New York City Into ‘Avatar Country’ for the Glory of the King [Photos]
Just one night before the release of their seventh full-length, Avatar Country, "the servants of the king" in Avatar stopped by New York City's Gramercy Theatre. As fans filed in, they stepped off the streets and into a theatrical new territory created by the metallic ambassadors.
They were met with a wall of artwork that other fans had created, dedicating their talents to the band and, probably without realizing it, to the king of Avatar Country. This wasn't your standard concert as a pair costumed men were positioned behind an elaborate table littered with Avatar's merch, their logo brilliantly illuminated on a royal marquee behind the two aforementioned masqueraders. For those who can't resist the temptation of winning a prize, a pick toss game was theirs to indulge in right beside the merch. The prize? A guitar pick.
Even before the show started, it was immediately clear that Avatar concerts are not just a show — they're an immersive experience. The group does not merely come to your city, play a set and leave. In fact, it's a bit of the reverse. You are the foreigner at the Avatar show, granted entry into Avatar Country for a narrow window of time in which the sights and sounds are something to behold.
Starting off the evening wasn't a band. Hellzapoppin' is a certified freakshow attraction that drove home Avatar's message of making fans leave with an experience. Nails were drilled through noses, razorblades were swallowed and miraculously recovered... and nobody was sent to the emergency room.
Next up were The Brains, who brought a high-energy rockabilly-tinged set to the stage and while the crowd was certainly of the metal mentality, they welcomed the group with an open mind, naturally already being a little musically adventurous having turned up to an Avatar show.
Ready to spread the goodwill messages of their mysterious ruler, a curtain drop unveiled royal banners as Avatar triumphantly opened with new material -- the Avatar Country intro "Glory to Our King" and "Legend of the King." The set was loaded with six new songs, which was certainly a treat for those in attendance as the album had yet to be released.
Royally dressed in elaborate jackets replete with frilly neck cloths and braided chords, the members of Avatar indeed appeared to be from another country, or possibly even another time. Their logo, consisting of a series of lights, was programmed to flash in sync with the music as frontman Johannes Eckerström, with the persona of an imposing court jester, took command of the stage and the crowd.
Fixated on their last four records (the new album included), Avatar ran through other favorites like "Let it Burn," "Smells Like a Freakshow," "The Eagle Has Landed" and "Puppet Show." They snuck in two tracks from earlier in their career -- "Reload" off their eponymous 2009 record as well as "War Song" from their debut. Closing out the night was the undulating, low-slung "Hail the Apocalypse," which fans had feverishly waited for all night.
When it was over, the crowd emptied out, leaving Avatar Country for the familiar wintry streets of New York with one more stamp on their passport than they showed up with. The king is good! See Avatar's set list and photos of their theatrical performance below.
Avatar Set List — Jan. 11, 2018
01. "Glory to Our King"
02. "Legend of the King"
03. "Let it Burn"
04. "Paint Me Red"
05. "King's Harvest"
06. "Bloody Angel"
07. "The King Wants You"
08. "Puppet Show"
10. "The Eagle Has Landed"
11. "War Song"
12. "Raven Wine"
14. "Smells Like a Freakshow"
15. "A Statue of the King"
16. "The King Welcomes You to Avatar Country"
17. "Hail the Apocalypse"
Avatar at New York City's Gramercy Theater