Avatar Takes Over South Bend, IN Aug31

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Avatar Takes Over South Bend, IN

 

Metalheads in South Bend, IN were the recipient of an early Christmas present of sorts, albeit at the end of August.   The folks over at Cheers Pub continue to put pressure on larger and better known venues by bringing amazing tours to town. Thursday August 27th had one of those bills that Cheers is quietly becoming known for. Those in attendance were treated to Swedish metal act Avatar, Los Angeles rockers Gemini Syndrome and Cheyenne, WY. upstarts, First Decree.

First Decree, made up of vocalist Travis James and a trio of brothers in Dane, Isaac and  Zach Lopez-Smith got the ball rolling.  Unfortunately, I don’t think that the majority of the crowd were very familiar with First  Decree. In all honesty, I think that the concert goers looked at them as just a step above one of the local bands that opened the show. That was until James and co. let loose with an intense and energetic thirty minute set. The quality of the performance from  the Wyoming natives made a strong statement  to the fans in front of them and  the bands following them. Bring your “A” game or you’ll get embarrassed.

As the temperature increased inside Cheers Pub the anticipation for Gemini Syndrome did as well. It has been just over a year since Gemini Syndrome has been in the bend. The last time that L.A.’s finest played here it was at the same venue to a full house. Needless to say, Northern Indiana is VERY familiar with Gemini Syndrome.  Oddly enough, G.S. consisting of  vocalist Aaron Nordstrom, drummer Brian Steele Medina and bass player Alessandro Paveri looked more than slightly different. In the last few weeks, Gemini guitar player, Rich Juzwick left the fold to tend to family matters. That said, the boys are back to a quintet with the addition of two new guitar players (which are unnamed).

Opening their eleven song set with Pleasure & Pain, the South Bend crowd erupted with an energy that Nordstrom et al, reciprocated equally. Rolling off fan favorites, Falling Apart, Syndrome,  Left Of Me,  Basement before wrapping things up with their latest release, Eternity and  Stardust. Gemini Syndrome, by saying few words between songs In essence spoke volumes. Regardless of their new members, Gemini Syndrome did not disappoint!

Next on the docket would be the Swedish headliners, Avatar. For those of you that haven’t seen Avatar live and in the flesh, I’ll warn you that no review or description can or will ever do their performance justice. Avatar’s sound is bombastic and intense yet refined. Their stage performance is just that… a performance. Don’t confuse what I said because their performance is equally important and doesn’t cover flaws but conversely, accentuates your experience. Front man, Johannes Eckestrom is exactly that…. a front man. With stimulating vocals to extreme  growls, Eckestrom has become a preeminent metal band leaders.

From the initial riff of Hail The Apocalypse, Avatar stood up and let the audience know that this wouldn’t be your run of the mill concert experience. Transitioning into Let It Burn, Death of Sound,  before uttering a word, simply set the tone. Eckestrom, who is a master of crowd interaction, informed the audience that South Bend would be called “Avatartown”  before ripping into What I Don’t Know and  Bloody Angel. Concluding the evening’s roller coaster ride with breathtaking renditions of Smells Like a Freakshow and Tower.

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