Gig review: DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT – The Garage, Glasgow, 30 April 2013

Devin Townsend

There is a fine line between genius and madness and it is one that Devin Townsend has been balancing on precariously for many years. I recall seeing him for the first time fronting Vai when they supported Aerosmith on their British tour. To say the crowd were confused by Devin’s performance that night is an understatement. They were expecting radio friendly hits but instead got a bald Devin stalking the edge of the stage and singing like a man possessed whilst Steve Vai played up a storm. The hall emptied rapidly but I was enthralled by the performance.

In the intervening years Devin has become an unstoppable, one man record industry producing some of the most enjoyable and challenging metal you will find. Tonight’s gig was the first on his latest Euro jaunt and started well with an eclectic set by For The Imperium.  Touring in support of their excellent new album, ‘Hail The Monsters’, the Finnish rockers put in an energetic set full of blast beats, time changes and a lot of energy. I only managed to catch the last couple of numbers by the band but it was enough to demonstrate how good they are live and proved that they can reproduce their complex metal in a live setting.

As soon as For The Imperium finished their set a screen at the back of the stage burst into life and we were treated to 30 minutes of ‘ZTV’ hosted by Ziltoid and showing some strange and very funny videos accompanied by a pounding backbeat, never has a stage change been so entertaining! This led nicely to the main event of the evening and as Devin and crew took to the stage the cheers were deafening.

You don’t really buy a ticket to a Devin Townsend Project gig, it is more like getting an invitation into Devin’s world, a strange alternative universe inhabited by weird beings and where the music is loud, epic and intense.

The band opened with ‘More’ from their latest album, ‘Epicloud’, which then led into ‘Kingdom’, a huge soundscape of a track which is intense and mesmerising in equal measure. Devin was in fine form with a grin plastered across his face throughout the whole set.

His chat in between songs was rapid and very amusing. Being the first night of the tour and having new computer driven images projected on to the rear screen throughout, the set was not without the odd technical hitch. These hitches though provided Devin with the opportunity to spout forth, joking that Glasgow was added to the tour schedule so that the crew could sort out the technical issues before they played in London!

Once the IT crew got things back on track Ziltoid appeared back on screen for ‘ZTO/ By Your Command’. The set proved to be a good mix of new and old with an emphasis on the ‘Epicloud’ album. Other set highlights included a super heavy ‘War’, an upbeat ‘Supercrush’ and a face melting ‘Juular’, complete with the promo video playing on the screen behind the band for added effect. The main set was rounded off with ‘Grace’ which was epic in the extreme.

Devin then asked the crowd to pretend the band had done the traditional thing of leaving the stage and being called back on when in fact he had a quick drink and was straight back to the mic. He then announced that they were going to play two songs they hadn’t played live before, the first being ‘Divine’, which featured a great vocal performance by Devin, and ‘Angel’ where again the band shone. The night was rounded off on a high with a rocking version of ‘Bad Devil’ which had the crowd dancing along for all they were worth.

Once again the Devin Townsend Project had provided a top night’s entertainment with fantastic musicianship, first class metal and laughs aplenty.  There may have been the odd glitch but it all added to the performance and in Devin’s world the odd bizarre moment is never far away. I am hoping to book a return trip in the very near future!

Review and Photos by David Wilson

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