Sometimes when you see a band or musician in concert and it is the first time you are being exposed to their style and sound, it can either be a blessing or a bad thing, depending on if they have a good stage presence. Back in 2005, it was during a chance meeting that I got to see the Ann Arbor, Michigan band The Avatars live in concert.
In 2005, Cleveland was host to the first CMJ Rock Hall Fest. The Rock Hall Fest was a musical event that brought many bands, some known, some unknown, to the Cleveland area to have the bands perform for people in the music industry as well as for crowds of old and new fans alike.
Ann Arbor, Michigan’s The Avatars was just one of the many up-and-coming bands that took part in the first Rock Hall Fest. The band took to the stage in the Festival Village for the event where they performed for the Friday afternoon crowd of music lovers. The short but entertaining set by the rock quintet was the perfect way to introduce the people at the festival village and myself to their style. It was a great way to discover what the band was all about.
The Avatars are a band that is made up of five talented musicians. The band is comprised of lead singer Mariah Cherem, bassist Theresa Kiefer, drummer Claudia Leo, with two male guitarists: Chris “Box” Taylor, and Charlie Lorenzi. The band’s sound has been previously described as “new wave inflected.” With Mariah Cherem handling the vocals, she sounds like a cross between Suzi Quatro and Debbie Harry; meaning that the band’s sound falls somewhere between Quatro’s Glam Rock style and Blondie’s New Wave style. But wherever you place the band’s sound, their style is different than most of the bands in today’s music scene. This difference gives The Avatars a fresh feeling amongst the everyday sounds of most bands that stay within the norm of the music industry.
When The Avatars were showcasing at the CMJ Rock Hall Fest, the band was performing songs from their then yet-to-be-released album debut for No Fun Records. That album, 2006’s Never A Good Time, is a short-but-sweet release that clocks in at less than 30 minutes.
Although the band is one of those groups that needs to be seen live to get the full appreciation for what they are about, Never A Good Time could be considered “the best way to experience The Avatar’s live feel at home.” While the album as a whole is very strong, some of the standout tracks include: “Honey Do,” “There Was A Time,” “Wait,” and of course, the title track of “Never A Good Time.” The Avatars are keeping the spirit of rock alive with their style of music. Check out The Avatars if you’re looking to rock-n-roll.