Is there anyone in metal music who pushes the boundaries of styles and song more than Devin Townsend? From the brutality of Strapping Young Lad, the storm-bending Devin Townsend Project to the newest expansive musical score of his latest album Empath, Townsend doesn’t just play music to you, he takes you on a journey into the far reaches of your subconscious. The places you only reach when you detach yourself from the normality of life and transcend into another realm.
So tonight, in true quirky Townsend style, we have a spoken word, acoustic show with meditating vocals interspersed with Townsend natural comedic ability.
Townsend is affable, warm and funny. He is genuinely honest when admitting that the half can of red bull he had before going on stage has rattled him somewhat. DT makes the most of the jitters and has the audience eating out of his hands anyway.
The music, which covers his career, is played out on a acoustic guitar, which allows DT’s powerful and gentle vocals to show. Almost operatic, he can go from gentle lullaby to a lions roar in an instant.
The softer, mellow sounds are akin to mediation as you feel yourself being swept up on a carpet ride into another dimension of soothing sonics. DT’s vocals are haunting, enchanting and mesmeric.
The showman is always apparent though. During the softer moments in Why? he gets the crowd to sing in their best death metal voices Let Me Go Home. It’s comical metal pantomime.
A healthy Q and A session intersperses the set with hilarious quotes about a Heavy Metal Enya, how DT dreadlocks smelt like yak balls and there is no chance of working with Fred Durst.
The wonderful two and half hour evening closes with a few musical requests from the audience before attaching a crowd gifted Octopus to his neck to sing a beautiful rendition of Life.
The man is a talent. A rare, unequivocal transcendent talent. Comedy, music, story telling. Once you’ve flown into your inner soul with DT, you will not want to disembark back into the real world.
Live Review By Iain McCallum