MIKE SHALER | Go Venue Magazine
On November 10, 2023, The Machine Shop in Flint, Michigan was the venue that held a spectacular night of live rock and roll. This show sold out quickly and fans couldn’t wait to attend as some folks were waiting in line at 9 am to get into the show. The doors didn’t open until 7 pm, those were some hardcore Avatar fans who wanted to get those coveted spots up front along the chain to be as close as possible to their rock heroes.
Opening the show was The Violent with Mike Protich on vocals, Dave McGarry on lead guitar and Pat Gerasia on drums. If those names sound familiar, it’s because they were members of the band Red Sun Rising, who I enjoyed the hell out of seeing perform live in concert. With Caleb Sgambato joining them on bass guitar, these guys brought the energetic rock and roll that fellow RSR fans remember. The Violent released an ep this year titled 002.TV. With songs like, “I’ll Be Waiting”, “Follow Me” and “Fly On The Wall”, The Violent is locked and loaded to rock audiences to the fullest. I’m looking forward to hearing more from these guys and from the sound of the crowd, they are too.
Just as fast as the show sold out and the line to get inside for the show filled up early, the place was packed well before the show began. Usually when shows are sold out, there’s a trickle in of fans as the show starts with the opening acts, but tonight, the people were there for all of it, and they were ready.
Avatar, one of the best things from Sweden the world has seen, graced our presence in Flint, Michigan on their Chimp Mosh Pit tour. Avatar is absolutely one of the best heavy metal bands touring today. Their shows are packed full of great music and fun, lively theatrics from the band members. Johannes Eckerström on vocals has such a magnetic persona, from belting out awesome lyrics to making balloon animals to playing trombone and piano, it’s hard not to keep your eyes on him. Joined with superb musicians Jonas “Kungen” Jarlsby on guitar, Henrik Sandelin on bass guitar, Tim Öhrström on guitar and John Alfredsson on drums.
These guys have been rocking for over 20 years and have made some very addictive songs over the years, “Smells Like A Freakshow”, “Hail The Apocalypse”, “Bloody Angel” are just a few of the tunes that had us banging our heads during the night. I was so happy they exorcised my demons by playing “The Dirt I’m Buried In”, which has been playing on a loop in my head for the past several weeks. That song is also off of their latest album titled, Dance Devil Dance, which was released earlier this year.
As the show was winding down close to two hours later, Avatar stepped off-stage for a break before coming back out for an encore. The songs were played but then Johannes and the band were so impressed by the reaction they decided to play longer, Johannes even joked about playing as many as ten more songs. If they didn’t have a gig the following night, I wouldn’t put it past them to play ten more songs. The crowd was electric from start to finish and the band felt that. Avatar said they will be back; we’ll be ready when they are. I’m sure the mosh pit clown will be ready too. Haha!! It was such a wonderful show. Do yourself a favor and go see Avatar if they are playing anywhere near you or heck, travel afar to see them, Avatar is worth it.