“Tonight, I’m going to give you rock faces 1 through 76. I’ve already shown you 3,” Devin Townsend announced to the crowd at Peabody’s Downunder Friday night (11.05.10). Formerly a vocalist for Steve Vai and frontman for the now-defunct metal outfit Strapping Young Lad, Townsend is currently on tour with his aptly named The Devin Townsend Project. For two hours, the audience enjoyed a joking, dancing Townsend during a set that, at times, could have been described as a Vaudevillian masterpiece of metal proportions.
Prior to the beginning of the set, the audience was treated to a feed of bubblegum pop filtered in from the alien Ziltoid- a creation imagined by Townsend at age 8 and fully realized in his 2007 solo concept album ‘Ziltoid the Omniscient.’ Interrupting the feed, the band stepped out on to the stage, setting the tone with “Addicted” and “Supercrush” from ‘Addicted,’ his most recent release, and the second album in a four-album series by DTP. (The final two records are scheduled for a 2011 release.)
Throughout the set, Townsend grinned devilishly as he took audience members on a trip through his nerdy world. Never taking himself too seriously, Townsend playfully ran across the stage; pausing to lick the Peabody’s stage support beams and preen for pictures with the audience. At one point, the frontman asked if everyone was “ready to headbang like nerds” while, during the more pop-friendly “Life,” a room full of metal fans was persuaded to sway back and forth as Townsend, dressed less metal and more cool dad, smiled and said, “This one’s for the ladies.”
Between an onstage dance party with fans and interjecting non sequiturs like “My favorite animal is the f*cking CareBear” and “I want the Millennium Falcon for Christmas,” Townsend created an accessible and light-hearted atmosphere in the middle of a metal concert. Oh, and for those who are curious, the support beams at Peabodys Downunder taste “shitty”- as Townsend informed the crowd later in the show.
Drummer Gene Hogland, metal legend and former member bandmate of Townsend in Strapping Young Lad, opened with his current group, Pitchfork. Former Devin Townsend Band bassist, Brian Waddell, played alongside Townsend during the set.
For those previously not familiar with the works of the Canadian auteur, Friday night’s show provided a great sampler for novice fans with his setlist spanning numbers from his recent releases with DTP, his solo efforts, and his works from Devin Townsend Band.
For more info on Devin Townsend and his projects: www.hevydevy.com