LIVE: Avatar @ Empire Live, Albany, 09/01/2021

Swedish Metal titans Avatar chose Albany as the site of their first concert in almost two years. They brought their “Going Hunting” Tour to the brand new Empire Live. Touring in support of their latest release, 2020’s Hunter Gatherer, Avatar showed up in Albany primed to knock the dust off from twenty-four months of downtime.
When the house lights went out at 9:15, the band made their way to center stage. Standing side by side, the band launched into “Colossus.” The nearly sold-out crowd roared in appreciation. Singer Johannes Eckerström, at the center of the group, led the band through the bombastic verses and into the thundering, staccato chorus, which was met with a loud sing-along.

When the song ended, drummer John Alfredson took his place at the drum kit, and the band launched into “Let It Burn” from 2012’s Black Waltz. “Silence in the Age of Apes” off of Hunter Gatherer followed, showcasing the dual guitar attack of Jonas “Kungen” Jarlsby and Tim Öhrström.

Avatar played a set that drew heavily from Hunter Gatherer, with tracks from their other albums sprinkled in. Brand new, unreleased track “Going Hunting” was a highlight of the performance.

Photo Gallery by Claude Sawyer

The lightshow at Empire Live is one of the best I have seen in a rock club. When Upstate Concert Hall closed and Empire Live was announced, I was worried that a fancy new club wouldn’t have that “sweaty rock club” vibe that was a signature of Upstate Concert Hall. I was pleasantly surprised, The new space is 100% rock club. The sight lines acoustics and lighting are next level good.

Empire Live has a full slate of concerts on the horizon, including Metal legends Sevendust on Monday September 13. Come on out and see all the hard work that was put in to make the former Capital Reparatory Theater a proper rock club.

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