Demo2DeRo: The Avatars

It seems as if the power-pop torch will never be extinguished in these parts, and that’s a good thing, at least when bands like the Avatars can make that familiar Big Star/Cheap Trick/Material Issue/Matthew Sweet formula of huge guitars, massive choruses and thundering drums sound as fresh and vital as it does on songs like “Oh Denise” and “Clockwork,” a cautionary (or is that celebratory?) tale of “another Midwest love affair,” just two of the gems that can be sampled playing on the band’s MySpace page (

Initially formed as the Omega Battalion, the Avatars–guitarists-vocalists Ian Zander and Mark Gustafson, bassist-vocalist Scott Ford and drummer Dustin Copeland–have been working hard on the edges of the Chicago scene for at least three years, driving in from their home base in Rockford. Rockford, Zander–yes, there’s a Cheap Trick connection (Ian is Robin’s eldest son), but the quartet gets no points for that nepotistic connection in this corner: They’ve earned the accolades for themselves with their recently released self-titled debut album, and they more than deserve their slot opening for Cheap Trick at the Vic Theatre on Dec. 10, WXRT (93.1-FM)’s Holiday Concert for the Kids.

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