Avatar Country @ The House of Blues (Cleveland, OH)

By Matt Moser, Moser Photoworks

We’re nearly two months into 2018 and finally got numero uno in the books. With a few month stint of wallowing around from old man winter, it was time to de-ice the camera and snagged this memorable show from the Swedish group, Avatar. Immerse yourself in Avatar Country folks. Where imagination and theatrical pleasures are the centerpieces of a land of people. Your king has courtly invited you to the show and reserved you a seat at the head roundtable. What’s in store? Raise a glass as the curtain reveals the first act of the night.

Hellzapoppin Circus Sideshow Revue

Labeled as one of the world’s last authentic circus sideshow with performances using the human anatomy and death-defying stunts of mind over matter, yet no blood, no pain. Hellzapoppin is a world renown theatrical rock-n-roll circus stunt show where some of the deadliest stunts in live entertainment are performed to a LIVE audience with emphatic rock music.
Shorty E. Dangerously, the 3’3″ man whose legs are replaced by his hands. Shorty has no regard for gravity. The half man is considered a one-stop for sideshow performances. He ‘s a fire-breather, knife thrower, and acrobat. Hell, he dumped a pile of broken glass on the stage, climb the ladder and took a leap of faith landing feet first, strike that, hand first on the glass shards. No blood. Amazing!
My favorite and well gut cringing, Ryan Stock stole the show for me. With over 30 world records to his name, Ryan swallowed swords, one being curved in which he had to bend his body to fit it down his esophagus, dangled weights and a bowling ball from his eyelids, 5 finger fillet to the chicken dance song, balancing a running chainsaw in his mouth with the dangerous end greeting his taste buds. Oh, and if balancing a chainsaw wasn’t enough to sell ya, he balanced an electric mower on his face while running on full power as performers tossed objects into the blades, showering the crowd with paper confetti everywhere.
Shock illusionist, Dan Sperry displayed mesmerizing stunts of magic. One included swallowing a Life Saver breath mint and wedging a piece of string in his neck to pull out the breath mint from his throat. The end result was a Life Saver necklace.
The Gothenburg-based metal band headlined the House of Blues on February 8th representing their own tour entitled “Avatar Country” which also is the latest title of their seventh full-length album. You can agree (or not) there are endless examples of new metal artists that take themselves too seriously. Perhaps they’re compensating for something or actually have a message to get across. Well, for Avatar, it sure as hell is over-the-top and remarkably entertaining. Their flamboyant nature capitalizes on the music they write all the way to the flashing lights and wardrobes they guys wear on stage.

Full Hellzapoppin Circus Sideshow Revue Slideshow below:

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The Brains

Just to iterate. Nothing on this tour is conventional. No lines to stay inside and everything is fair game. The first musical act to hit the spotlight was a rockabilly trio band from Montreal, Canada called The Brains. I’m not too familiar with the “rockabilly/psychobilly scene, but The Brains had their own sound to call their own. If you took rock, punk, and traditional swing music, put it in a pot and cranked the heat to high, you just may have the perfect recipe for The Brains. Admittedly, I couldn’t get into it. My girlfriend who was in attendance raved about them. Met with drummer Guillaume Lauzon for The Brains and found out the dude played the entire set with his left leg, as his right ankle was restrained in a brace. I think Hellzapoppin should consider him part of their lineup!

Full The Brains slideshow below:

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These days, you see a lot of metal artists taking themselves far too seriously. The Gothenburg-based band, Avatar isn’t one of them. In fact, being flamboyant and off-the-wall makes them one of the more recognizable metal bands in Europe. I can’t think of any band off the top of my head (especially in the states) that go this far to centralize their fans into this circus-style theme. We’re a little over a month into the release of their seventh full-length entitled “Avatar Country”. The album is a tribute to the “King” of Avatar Country which is illustrated by guitarist, Jonas Jarlsby.

Covering this show, I for one felt like I was transported out of Cleveland and into this mad world of Avatar Country. As the main curtain opened, a tall banner dropped with the King’s profile on both sides and a verse narrating the lyrics from “Glory To Our King”. Moments later, the stage is presented and Jonas rises behind the drum kit sitting on a throne, guitar propped lap in his full king attire. It was so majestic to witness a grand entrance. As the rest of the band entered, they broke into their lengthy 8-minute ensemble entitled, Legend Of The King”. Here you were greeted by lanky statuesque, Jonannes Eckerstrom. If you’re new to this band, Jonannes can be a little intimidating as his long hair, white clown makeup, accompanied by his cane as he snarls and slithers his tongue at the crowd.
The highlight of the night and most everyone in attendance would agree was when the band capped off the night with, “The King Welcomes You”. From here, the room was instantly filled with bubbles. Bubbles on the stage, bubbles on the general admission floor, bubbles in the balcony, and yes, bubbles in your FACE. It was something straight out of the bubble room in “Willy Wonka” where Charlie and grandpa consume the Fizzy Lifting drink.

Full Avatar slideshow below:

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