Posted on by Bláthín Eckhardt

What a week of fantabulous concerts! A highlight of this trail of treats was the return of one of the manifestations of the Canadian mastermind Devin Townsend. 


An Irish band from Cork, Mindriot, got the support slot for Devin Townsend Project. A noticeable feature of their performance was evident from the moment they entered the stage – the level of crowd involvement. The band encouraged the audience to sing along to their songs and invited to call and response games. The frontman Tony Gorry greets the audience with humour; “If we don’t warm you up, we don’t get paid“. Mindriot’s half hour set featured storytelling songs and grooves that revolved around grunge, classic and garage rock. At times, they were mildly technically raw, such as minor things like inconsistent time keeping but this did not interfere with the earnest projection of their songs.

The vibe this night at The Academy was calm and people were preparing their antennas to receive a divine rush of thrilling music. We were awaiting a night of positivity, motivation and tingling sensations in the anus.

Devin Townsend Project consists of world class musicians, lead by a world class dork. The musicians take the stage with open arms. Kudos to the sound engineer they had for this tour, which ensured a frictionless and phenomenal transmission of their music. Maybe the secret to their musical sorcery is due to the lack of hair in this band… The stage presence and projection of this five-piece progressive metal outfit is not balls-in-your-face exorbitant. Rather, they seem to have a shit-ton of light-hearted fun, which they wish to share with us. The set consists of plenty of songs of their latest album Transcendence and revisits golden nuggets of the past, such as ‘Night’ from Devin Townsend’s Ocean Machine.

Devin Townsend is a cynical entertainer, who carries the spirit of the show effortlessly and he knows how to pull a leg, when he said: “You’re probably here because you’re getting bullied in high school…“, addressing the cleansing effect heavy metal can have on your emotional baggage. Puppets of the pig-headed, coffee-drinking alien Ziltoid are dancing on the hands of the crowd. After he hit a high note at the end of a song, he honestly exclaims “wow, every time I do that, my anus touches my underwear!

Is everybody happy?”

Experiencing Devin Townsend Project is a celebration of the wonder of life. It is a celebration of both light and darkness you experience within the magnitude of emotions you cannot articulate with words. At the same time, their music is also an appeal to take life and yourself a little bit easier.

This show was spreading positivity with honesty – don’t take life too seriously, nobody gets out alive anyway. The chatter and jokes were an inseparable part of the show as Devin Townsend talks over the beginnings of the next songs, and are often based on a crude and dorky sense of humour about human’s peculiar and primal fascination with asses and genitals. When Devin Townsend Project struck up ‘Kingdom’, my ovaries exploded.

I wonder how many people amongst the audience were a little butt-hurt after Devin Townsend’s dig at metal fans, for metalheads pretend to be tough as nails, when they dive headfirst into the pit screaming like barbaric savages, but bow their heads and mutter at the Christmas dinner, when their father asks them if they are still listening to that racket.

Yes, we are often elitists that cower behind the armour of heavy metal and dismiss everything not brutal. It was also a dig at the hidden insecurity of the genre to express emotions or musical ideas that appeal to the softer shades of sentiments.

A refreshing part of this performance was Devin Townsend’s encore gag, in which he narrates and acts out what happens in between the lines when a band exits the stage just to be called back to play a couple of more songs, because the bands are “desperate for validation” (obviously, a lot of the things Devin Townsend says are a cynical caricature of how people emote).

The audience resembled a bunch of electrons, who are sharing and copying light patterns amongst each other. An intense connectivity with everything is experienced during this performance. After Devin Townsend Project conclude their show with ‘Higher’, we just felt happy. Our souls have been purged and nourished and light and love have been received.



Blathin Eckhardt
© Overdrive, 2017