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THE DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT @ THE PALACE, MELBOURNE

If there is one person who gets it, it’s Devin Townsend. Once a part of UK hard rock mercenaries, The Wildhearts, he went on to singing with Steve Vai, working with Jason Newstead before settling into his own and becoming the genius behind what was the chaotic Strapping Young Lad. Now sitting comfortably upon a slew of impeccable solo albums, Townsend is one artist that continues to think outside the square, push boundaries of metal music and go where no other artist of his ilk has gone before – without regret and with a tongue held firmly in cheek.

The night started with local black metal heroes, Ne Obliviscaris, who were an interesting fit for the support act. Under the dimly lit blue lights, they delivered a punishing set of riffs and solid drumming fronted by a dual vocal assault complete with violin. The appreciative crowd lapped it up and serenaded the band with cheers and applause through their half hour set.

It was no surprise that The Palace erupted into a plethora of extremely loud cheers when Devin and his cohorts appeared on stage. His fans are in for the long haul and follow him through both thick and thin, supporting each project with praise and love and Dev himself couldn’t be more thankful. He looked in complete harmony as he kicked off with Truth; the perfect opening to what was going to be two hours of mindblowing metal riffs and melody. Regulator followed with the instantly catchy classic, Christeen, shortly after which I believe may have been the first time it has been played to Australian audiences.

Ziltoid made numerous appearances throughout the set on a huge video screen playing behind the band challenging Townsend to a guitar dual all the while being the rude and obnoxious alien that Devin’s fans have grown to know and love, leaving the audience in stitches of laughter. Epicloud’s Save Our Now, More!, and Liberation were all played with sweet perfection, packing copious amounts of melody and some of the biggest choruses heard since Cheap Trick’s entire back catalogue. Songs like Bad Devil and Addicted! really got the crowd jumping and moving with a sea of bodies flailing around to the beat while the tender but highly powerful jam, Grace, finished the set complete with a circle pit much to Devin’s amusement.

He returned to the stage making jokes about encores and rockstar clichés before getting straight back to business churning out smashers like the melancholic Heatwave and getting the audience to raise their spiritfingers to the overly jumpy Lucky Animals. Ending the night with the heartwarming, emotionally driven and highly powerful Deep Peace, at first what seemed like an odd choice to finish with became the perfect way to end an incredible set.

It was epic, it was loud, it was Devin Townsend doing what he does best and his flawless performance was something to be praised and will no doubt be chalked up as one of the finest shows of 2013.

If there is one thing that can be said about Devin Townsend, it’s that he genuinely loves what he does. It’s obvious from the smiles that emanate from the stage that he is having the time of his life up there, playing his music for his legions of fans. It’s genuine, not forced, and I’m sure this love and passion is what has made his prolific career have such longevity and I am sure we will see him grace our shores for many years to come.

Setlist:
Truth
Regulator
Christeen
Save Our Now
Kingdom
More!
Addicted!
Disruptr
War
Planet Smasher
Gaia
Storm
Bad Devil
Juular
Liberation
Let It Roll-Grace

Encore:
Heatwave
Lucky Animals
Vampira
Deep Peace

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Damo

I buy lots of records. I sing for Muscle Car. I play video games. I skateboard. I like stuff n things.
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