BOOOOOOM!!! And just like that the word was in. I was seeing none other than BABYMETAL and AVATAR on the same bill, and I was beyond excited. Two groups who not only have great, catchy songs, but also put on one hell of a live show visually were going to attack The Fillmore here in Philly, on a Friday night, no less! Normally I find an easy parking spot near the venue, but noooooope, not this night. A lot of people wanted to catch this one. As an added bonus I had John Buczek from MetalheadShots.com in the building with me taking the sweet, sweet photos y’all see before you.
AVATAR took the stage at 8 pm with powerhouse opener “Hail the Apocalypse” from album of the same name. This is one of my favorite songs of the modern metal era, and unquestionably my favorite from the band. When that riff starts and the chorus hits I am a screaming lunatic! Johannes Eckerström is undoubtedly one of THE best frontmen in the game right now, and the audience was in the palm of his hands from first note to last. “Let It Burn” was next and as soon as it started you could hear the roar of the crowd…rightfully so!
The same rang true for the opening strains of “Bloody Angel.” Lemme tell you somethin’ AVATAR has a very rabid fanbase. And at this particular gig I saw quite a few people dressed up like them. When the song hit in earnest we were all headbanging like the crazy nuts we are. Avatar Country made its lone appearance with “A Statue of the King,’ a track that goes from super-melodic to ultra-heavy and back again in the blink of an eye before “The Eagle Has Landed” had everyone screaming, “Everything is going to be okay-ay-ay-ay!” Love it!!
“Tsar Bomba” and “Puppet Show” were played back-to-back and they clearly represented two different ends of the spectrum that this band is capable of unloading on you. Of course both sounded fucking awesome, and you could see that not only was Johannes having a great time, but so was the rest of the band. Hell, “Puppet Show” has that carnival feel to it, so it was perfect in Philly on a Friday night. Am I right? I think I am.
Closing the set was “Smells Like a Freakshow” which always destroys live, and this night was no exception. These guys just nail it, ya know? When all was said and done I was left wanting so much more. This was my fourth AVATAR show, and other than their one-off headliner in 2017, I have to say that this was absolutely the best I’ve ever seen them. In one eight-song set AVATAR came, saw, and conquered the City of Brotherly Love, and I am so glad I got to check it out. And I still had BABYMETAL to look forward to. More on that in a minute, y’all…
LIVE IMAGES: JOHN BUCZEK/METALHEADSHOTS.COM
LIVE WORDS: THE MAESTRO