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

Posted in Concerts, Music, Uncategorized with tags , , on March 2, 2019 by Sara Hammerzmith

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



Sweden Rock Festival 2015 – Saturday

Posted in Concerts, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on June 6, 2015 by Sara Hammerzmith

So, it was time for the last day, and for the first time this festival I was up rather early. Seriously, I woke up already at 9.30. And I woke up to sweet sound of rain dropping down on my tent. It was nice – it wasn’t too warm, and not too cold, it was the perfect temperature for cuddling all to myself underneath the thick blanket. Loved it. Eventually I had to drag myself up – I had planned to catch Frantic Amber at 11.30, and since I already missed out on Delain, I figured I’d actually try and get out. And I was in the midst of finish both my breakfast and make up (yes, I do it on the same time since I’m a very slow eater) Paula called me up and demanded me to come see her, like, now. Which was good, because it was about 15 minutes ’til Frantic Amber would start.

I got out, said hello goodbye to my campmates (hadn’t seen them the entire day yesterday) and then headed off to the area. I didn’t find Paula immediately, so I called her up and gladly, she found me, haha.


Conveniently enough, 4Sound Stage is located right across the entrance, so we got in right in time for them to start. Frantic Amber is, much like Rock Godess, a band I’m not all too familiar with more than a couple of songs, but I really like what I’m hearing, and the band delivered like there was no tomorrow! And the outfits! They all had their individual clothing – but at least one piece was army patterned. And I LOVE how they didn’t have the same clothes, but on the same time were connected, you know?

Aside that, they also brought the sun, gladly. Well, what can I say, it was a good gig, a perfect start on the day.


After Frantic, Paula headed over to see Mustach and I did one last dash for Mailmetalorder. Last day and all you know, so I went and picked up a Dream Evil album (United) and an One Man Army and the Undead Quartet album (the name fails me when I write this) and met up with Paula for Hardcore Superstar


It might have been raining in the morning, but by the time HCSS was entering the stage it was burning hot. They played the big stage – Festival Stage and we got decent spots somewhere in the middle. A bit away, but not too faraway. Pretty perfect. They opened up the gig with “Need No Company” and the success was a fact. I do believe HCSS is really, REALLY one of those bands who much like Sabaton, has a bigger fanbase than you might give them credit for.

And here we go again, with frontmen. Like I told you yesterday, Erik Grönwall is really one of a kind. Someone who’s not too far behind is Jocke Berg. Even though he may not be a duracell-rabbit on speed, he still has exactly what it takes to front a band, and he really gets the crowd going.

It was a rather short set, only about an hour long and filled with both new tracks and old goodies. And yes, no need to fear – we did dance jenka to “Last Call for Alcohol”, though I had to do it on one leg.


After HCSS we dashed to foodcourt to pick up some food and sat down at the stage Eluveitie were about to play in a couple of hours. We spent a long time talking and catching up and eating and exchanging CD’s. I had brought her a The Lounge Kittens EP and she’d gotten me a Katy Perry single (Hot N Cold). Dashed over the court to say hello to Hansi and drop off a Monsterman DVD and he joined us back.

He was also the one who told us Eluveitie had changed playtime, and wasn’t going on stage until 22.30 later that night, both to our dismay and also a little joy. Paula headed off to her boyfriend and his friends camp, and I headed back to mine to do some last minute packing. Seriously, the less I had to carry the following day, the better.

After this, it was time to get over to the back-in-business Rockklassiker tent to catch me some circus.


So, a lot of people were surprised when they learned I liked Avatar, and Avatar is probably the first “scream” band I ever liked, but seriously, how can you not? Circus and metal, all together. It’s perfect.

However, this is a band that, in my opinion, should play late at night. It just doesn’t cut it with them playing at like 18, they do it best in darkness. BUT, nevertheless – rather Avatar daytime than no Avatar.

They began right on time, as all the bands have so far, and opened up with “Hail The Apocalypse” and… I’m gonna go there again.

Erik Grönwall is amazing, but do you know who else is AMAZING? Johannes Eckerström. The frontman of Avatar. He is absolutely INSANE. I’m not sure if he IS, or if it’s a part of his character, but he is really the only one I can think of, as of now, who can even COMPETE with Erik when it comes to fronting a band. Man, he’s intense! I love intense frontmen. Who really go for it you know? Still remember how he almost hit me and Maria in the head with his stick the first time I saw them live (funny enough, they were support for no other than Hardcore Superstar)

Despite being a REALLY short set, it was amazing. It was that last finishing touch I needed on this festival to feel really content. Ahh. I love it. So so much.


After Avatar, I did a few last runs to Hot Shot picking up “Back Through Time” and “Captain Morgans Revenge” (Alestorm). I can’t understand, now afterwards, why I didn’t go for “Sunset on the Golden Age” as well while I were at it, but some questions are just supposed to be left unanswered.

Leaving all the stuff in car, doing one last run with luggage, I met up with Paula and her boyfriend for what would become the last gig of the night – Eluveitie.


So, they had to delay their show a few hours due to problems on the airport. Problems that involved them not having a bassplayer and their proper gear. But seemingly, this didn’t stop them from continuing on the show. That’s what’s amazing with metal and rockbands all in all – they don’t like minor, or major, things stop them.

I must admit, I didn’t stay the entire show as the tiredness got the best of me, but I saw the majority of it, and it was really good. A good ending of a good festival.


I got back to my tent and dashed to bed earlier than ever before this year. Which was good, since I was set to get up at 4am.

// Sara