Avatar @ Nöjesfabriken, Karlstad, Sweden 2/3-19

I do not think there is a gig this year, boat included, that I’ve been looking more forward to than this particular one. Avatar, all at home. You see, eight years ago, On November 11 – so, 11/11/11, I was at this exact venue, discovering this exact band. My memories from the shows are shallow, my most prominent one being Johannes almost hitting me and Maria in the head with his stick during “Torn Apart”.

But is had passed quite some time since, and now they are here with their Avatar Country tour and I couldn’t be more stoked. Sofia and Toivo had arrived already the day before for some taco coziness, and we spent this day listening to Avatar, watching some old live shows while getting ready and then having a nice dinner at a mongolian restaurant before heading off to Nöjesfabriken to wait in line.

Much to our delight, it was no issue to wait inside the bowlingbar which made this queueing about hundred times more pleasant. There were a few people ahead of us in line, but not a problem nor a surprise.

For this particular event, or perhaps this goes for all events at this venue, but it was new to us. So, at 20, they’d open some sort of cashier where you exchanged your ticket for a wristband for easier entry. However, this way kind of messed up alot. Us who had waited forever no longer had any particular spot in the line, and us who HAD waited started to gather together to push away others.

There was this one particular group of people who tried to jump the queue, and we were very worried they would. As they opened the door we got ready… And they were all stopped in agecheck. All of us internally cheered as we safely gathered the front row spots we’d been waiting for, and watching the jumpers come second. There is a God somewhere, clearly!

With that said, we waited for the first artist to start, and in the blink of an eye (mostly because I was watching Melodifestivalen at the same time) he was on stage.

Dylan Walshe

First act of the night was Dylan Walshe, who is an Irish singer-songwriter. It was simply him, his harmonica, his guitar and a few percussion pieces tied to his feet. He was very very good – I enjoyed the calm before the storm, so to speak. He was also a very funny guy on stage. I liked him.

The Mahones

Next band up was The Mahones, and irish-canadian punkband. And now it was party time. They delivered a very very nice and energetic show, and got us in the mood so completely before Avatar. I’m very happy they were here.

And then… Oh man. The hype was real. Like, we were so excited and SO ready for this. It wasn’t even funny how ready we were. Waiting and waiting, getting impatient and what not… when finally… “Glory to our King” echoed throught the speakers and it was time for us to preach to our King.


The venue is very small, so obviously, the throne was not in place, so it started with the King walking onto the stage. Obviously, the band started the show with “Statue of the King” and the euphoria was set. If that was quite the firestarter, it did not slow down as they continued with “Hail The Apocalypse” straight up. Hello dead neck!

And there was absolutely no rest as the king stepped up the front of the stage to start the plucking intro to “Bloody Angel” and the band has us all ripped to shreds with the song. Seriously, what is it with this band, and absolutely destroying us?!

Johannes started speaking about bathing and painting himself in blood, and any person who has ever witnessed Avatar is well aware what song he’s referring to. “Paint Me Red” was next, I’m absolutely positive at this point that the band simply does anything it can only for the sake of slaughtering our necks.

I’ll be frank and upfront admit that I was foolish enough to believe that perhaps some kind soul would be documenting the setlist properly, or that I could look it up afterwards, which was all in vain. I do remember what songs was played, but I do not remember the exact order. So excuse me for that.

“The Eagle Has Landed” and “For the Swarm” was ripped off, and again – I said just a paragraph ago but I’ll say it again – NECK. MURDERERS.

“Get in Line” and the “Black Waltz” was also performed, the latter one much to our surprise. But the greater and more pleasant surprise for me was when they started off the intro to “Puppetshow”. I wasn’t exactly expecting it, so I was so so happy. One of my favorite songs, it was.

“Torn Apart” was also being played, much to my.. Perhaps not surprised, but my delight. When Maria and I first saw this band live on this venue some seven years ago, this was in particular the song we remembered as Johannes almost hit us in the head with his stick. So it was.. beautiful? In a way to get to experience it again.

And then.. an intro rolled. The intro I know so well from being my favorite song off “Avatar Country”. A song I was convinced was simply a filler, an outro, a song to never be played live (like Sabaton’s “Ruina Imperii”)..

“King after King”.

Unlike Sabaton, Avatar actually played this one live. I got to hear one of my top Avatar songs ever live. I couldn’t even believe it was happening, but it sure did. Holy hell.

There were a quick change of wardrobe before the bubbles started floating all around and they wrapped up their set with “Avatar Country” followed by “Smells like a Freakshow”.

And holy hell what a show. I mean, as someone who has followed Avatar for many many years, and at many times listed them as highlight of the festivals, I am still blown away, BLOWN AWAY with how great of a live band they are. It makes me so happy every single time.

Thank you Avatar, for this evening!

// Sara



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