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Avatar // Live @ Express Live! // 1.6.18

Article and Photos by: Linda Carlson


Columbus, OH – Swedish heavy metal band Avatar kicked off its Avatar Country World Tour 2018 at Express Live in Columbus, Ohio on January 6, 2018 to a rowdy and enthused crowd.  The band is promoting its recent release, Avatar Country.

An Avatar concert is a feast for the senses that starts with a visual onslaught of technicolor costuming, theatrical make-up, dramatic lighting and spectacular movement.  Add to that the heavy metal richness of sound and lyrics, and you have a spectacle of incredible proportions.

Appropriately warming up the audience for this circus of visual and aural sensation was Hellzapoppin, an outrageous and exciting talent troupe that pulls from the lore of the circus sideshow.  No clowns, but plenty of fire-breathing, sword-swallowing, illusionists, as well as an incredible performance from Short E. Dangerously, the “half-man” who, with no legs but plenty of humor, performed amazing acts that entertained the crowd.

Short E Dangerously, Hellzapoppin

Next was The Brains, a “psychobilly” band from Canada, comprised of upright double bassist Colin the Dead, guitarist Rene D La Muerte and drummer Phil The Beast, who together put on a strong show to lead up to the headliner.

Phil The Beast, The Brains

The King officially opened the borders of Avatar Country to the good people of Columbus, giving them METAL relief from the macabre of the mundane.  Avatar’s show was seamless, well-produced and impeccably performed.  The band debuted a number of new songs, including “Glory to the King,” “Legend of the King,” “King’s Harvest” and “The King Wants You.”  Who was The King?  Jonas Jarlsby, guitarist and vocalist, who at the start of the set was perched on an elevated throne behind the drum kit, carrying his “six-stringed axe” and adorned by the requisite crown.

The King, Jonas Jarlsby, Avatar

Lead singer Johannes Eckerstrom spoke repeatedly to the crowd in his signature slow, deliberate cadence, full of drama and intrigue.  He drew the fans into the stage experience, and declared that Columbus had become…family.

Avatar has a heavy touring schedule that goes through February 11 in the USA, and then they head to Europe from mid-March through mid-April, then back to the States for round 2 at the end of April.  Check out their tour schedule at

Linda Carlson
Linda has been photographing people since she was ten. Forever intrigued by the complex beauty of the human form, she brings the eye of a portraitist to the unpredictability and spectacle of the concert scene.

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