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[LIVE REVIEW and PHOTOS] DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT and sleepmakeswaves, at the Enmore Theater, 22/05/2017

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I think it’s pretty safe to say Devin Townsend can be filed under prolific. If you look at his body of work, the man has released a whopping 17 albums since 1997. And that’s just counting the projects under his own name.

He also needs no introduction; he’s relentlessly toured the world seemingly without a break for years, stopping off in Australia so many times we’ve been absolutely spoiled by this enigmatic Canadian artist and with the crowd that gathered at the Enmore theatre, you could see why he’s always made his way back down under.

Kicking things off for Hevy Devy were Sydney Post Rock Instrumentalists sleepmakeswaves. I must admit that this was my first time seeing them live and hearing their music, despite their name popping up constantly on my radar and having them recommended to me so many times over the years.

They were incredibly spirited and full of energy as they tore through a set that felt like an instrumental cross between Dream Theater and Porcupine Tree. Technically on point, the 40-minute set took the half full Enmore through a journey of musical landscapes and by the end I felt almost exhausted with the ground that they had covered. In a good way of course. Special mention goes to their drummer who was an absolute beast behind the kit; his arms were a flurry of fills and rolls, but never dipping into overindulgence and always serving the groove of each song.

Next up was the main event, you could feel the energy and anticipation in the air as the floor began to fill and swell, people were more than ready for some Hevy Devy.

Whilst waiting we were treated to Townsend’s alter ego, the insane alien Ziltoid humorously spinning tracks on the speakers, getting everybody in the mood, and once the lights went down, people were absolutely chomping at the bit.

From the opening chords of Rejoice right up to the epic final song of the night, Higher, Townsend had the crowd in the palm of his hand. Playing a great set of new tracks from the latest release Transcendence and a selection of deep cuts from his entire back catalogue, I highly doubt people would have walked away disappointed at the song choices.

I could mention how technically proficient and tight the band sounded, how each member is an absolute master of their instrument, but the main thing you’ll always be in awe of at a Devin Townsend concert is his ridiculously powerful voice. The man seems be able to literally do anything vocally. From tender melodies to guttural screams from everything in between, every utterance is a joy to listen too, even as Townsend told the crowd he was jet-lagged and under the weather, it didn’t dilute his performance at all, and as I looked around, I could see I wasn’t the only one feeling this way.

When the show came to a close, I was left wanting more in the way all great shows feel like at the end; they could have played for another three hours and I still would have felt it was too short.  Ultimately though, as I left the Enmore Theater among the other punters, all who were talking excitedly about the performance, two things crossed my mind. One was that I hoped he would come back to Australia quickly and that there really is nothing like a Devin Townsend gig.


Photography by Gwendolyn Lee

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