To a lot of people Devin Townsend is more than just a musician. He has an almost cult following so dedicated that it doesn’t matter how many times they have seen him, they will show up in droves to catch the man at any venue he plays at. Some will even go to the lengths of traveling to see him in other states like the fans I met while waiting outside the sold out Triffid tonight.
It’s easy to say that we are definitely in for a treat and there is a buzz of excitement in the massive line up outside. The night opens with Sydney instrumental power house Sleepmakewaves, who kick off with unmatched ferocity. Now, I am not generally a fan of instrumental bands but these guys really know how to capture a crowd’s attention. Their blend of ambient sounds and soaring guitars reverberate around Triffid and you can feel every note and beat they play with expertise and passion which makes them the perfect opener for someone like ‘Hevy Devy’. They also have one hell of a light show that helps them create an eerie atmosphere that leaves a mark on anyone in attendance and even Devin himself which he later mentions during the show.
By the time the Devin Townsend Project hit the stage the room is at full capacity. There is something about a Devy show that seems to bring an eclectic mix of people together. You have everyone from your general punters to full on music nerds all under one roof to see the great man in the flesh. “It’s going to be super awkward and I’m going to request you to participate in some cheesy rock stuff” Devin jokes before ripping into Rejoice from the Z2 album which instantly gets the pit moving. From here we are treated to a mix of some of his best material from recent albums to a couple of classics like Night from Ocean Machine.
It’s hard not to have a great time at a Devin show, he is not only a phenomenal songwriter with a band of amazing musicians but also an underrated comedian that would easily fill a room with his stand-up chops.. His banter between songs has the fans in stitches but also manages to lay down some serious undertones when introducing songs like Dead Head, which is a very personal song for him, where at that point the set hits its most intense but he still manages to keep the mood as light as he possibly can.
While his voice when talking between songs grows increasingly raspy and road-worn, his vocals during the set are mind blowing. His range is almost inhuman with him hitting some notes with power and precision that are almost impossible for most vocalists to reach and proves why he is one of the best in the genre. As the night nears its finale, he makes a joke about bands that do the “say goodnight and leave the stage and return for an encore” and then hilariously does that returning to play the acoustic track Ih-Ah followed by Bastard. And just when you think it’s all said and done the show ends with the band playing Higher from Transcendence which has everyone in the room walking out in a euphoric daze and extremely satisfied with what they just witnessed.
As a long-time fan of Devin’s, I was not disappointed. He knows how to work his crowd and deliver the goods and keep them coming back for more no matter how many times he tours here. And I am damn sure that many other fans would agree that he should just move here so we can get more of what he has to offer on a regular basis.