Devin Townsend Project
26 March 2011
Islington Academy, London
It was more packed than a packed thing in the Islington Academy as the crowd joined Ziltoid on the screens bopping along to The Vengabus ahead of the arrival of Devin Townsend and his Project. In truth, this venue sold out so quickly that it’s likely this could have been bumped up to a bigger venue such as The Forum, but instead we were left to become closer friends to the person next to you than perhaps you’d hope.
Eventually Ziltoid took over the screens and we were treated to a hilarious introduction from the Omniscient one, culminating in his announcement that tonight’s set would be in “boobaphonic” sound, before declaring, “On with the show!”.
The band took to the stage with the backing of Addicted! starting, Devin noting that the Dungeon Master in him could tell we were geeky and we were in for a good night. A quick check on whether there where any ladies in the venue led to a much larger cheer than expected, with a surprised Devin exclaiming, “Are you serious? Are you at the wrong show?”
Of immediate note, as the guitars kicked in, was the volume was much quieter than usual at this venue. However, the sacrifice in noise was compensated in sound quality. Supercrush! followed with the crowd joining in the chorus, which led Devin to exclaim, “I have a four inch boner!” At the song’s conclusion a spontaneous chant of “Devin” from the crowd was met with a chant of “London” from Devin.
It was hard to take your eyes off Devin, who would surely do well in a gurning contest. Striking poses and pulling faces when not throwing out quirky comments or singing, Townsend absolutely commanded this crowd. As the introductory riffs of Om were played, Devin declares, “I’m proud to be me, you should be proud to be you”, before dropping in a typically left field, “Are there any unicorns in the audience?”
The “flying” middle section of By Your Command saw the crowd all swaying flying arms with Devin eventually comically asking “Can you please stop now”, to little reaction which led him to note, “You’re not stopping, you have summoned from the fourth dimension, Ziltoid!”. The extraterrestrial was constantly popping up on the screens, though the biggest laugh was saved for the cartoon image of a content Ziltoid at home with his wife and child.
As ever, Life was immense with Devin getting the crowd to chant “Balls” across the opening riff. Mid song, he introduced, “The worse guitar solo ever written”, hysterically pulling his face in disgust as he played each note. Meanwhile, with Devin bathed in red light, Bad Devil had the crowd jumping around.
Returning for an encore, Devin introduced each member of his band, who whilst remaining out of the spotlight played their roles admirably. Each was afforded a chant of their name, though in drummer Ryan Van Poederooyen’s case, at Devin’s insistence the chant consisted of “Poo”.
After a couple more from the Ziltoid album, time was running out with a curfew for the following club. Devin very quickly managed to coral 15 members of the crowd onto the stage to bounce around to “the gayest song in the world”, Bend It Like A Bender! To finish what will likely be one of the best sets this year. How WASP follow this at Bloodstock I have no idea.
Devin Townsend Project setlist:
Addicted! / Supercrush! / Kingdom / Deadhead / Truth / OM (intro) / By Your Command / Life / Earth Day / Bad Devil / Color Your World / The Greys / Deep Peace / Bend It Like A Bender!