DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT – Oslo – Rockefeller
Walking towards the Rockefeller venue and seeing that there was quite a big queue of people waiting to get in was the first sight that the evening’s concerts should be really successful. You can’t go wrong with Devin as headliner and the Norwegian Shining playing on home ground was a good receipe for a crowd full of energy. Even Periphery, the opening act of the evening, had a great success since there seemed like a good part of the audience loved them. I am not familiar with their music and I’m not sure I want to try. I will strictly manage to admire their energy on stage, since they’re quite a bunch of people and the only time they got my attention were during some of the ‘low tuned’ instrumental parts. And it seemed more interesting compared to few nights before when I got the chance to see the same lineup in Prague.
Shining, on the other hand, is a band I got to watch time several times and in various configurations. In Prague I was really surprised to only recognise Munkeby and the drummer and spent most of the time trying to figure out who the other guys were. For a little while it looked like Devin was performing with Shining on stage. In Oslo they didn’t use the Devin copy, but the familiar guitarist Håkon Sagen and things felt more ‘normal’. Rockefeller hall was pretty much full by the time they started to play and this really helped to build up instant craziness. Or madness, to go with the intro song, ‘The madness and the damage done’. I personally hate strobe lights, but I must admit that when the keyboards at this song go bananas, it’s actually the perfect way of matching them with a lightshow.
Devin Townsend Project live @ Trondheim Metalfest 2014
With their 2 albums up to date, the set was ofering good choices from both of them, but to me it feels like the BlackJazz songs are already hits and are able to take the show to a new level just when people recognise the intro beats. New or old, Munkeby’s way of playing the saxophone ‘in your face’ and interacting with everyone in the first row is probably what triggers the best responses, which, in turn, seems to feed the rest of the band with a lot of energy so they can go wild on their instruments as well. My absolute favourite part is after the crowd is asked whether they like metal and whether they like jazz and how about jazz metal and then you have a long jazzy instrumental part before the set ended with ’21st century schizoid man’. I loved those minutes. And no matter how often I saw that ending, it’s always cool to see the band playing around and jamming a bit, depending on how the crowd reacts. I hope this band will stay as intense each time I get to watch them live, no matter the lineup.
After a lot of action on stage when people removed a drumkit and other devices used for Shining’s concert and started setting up what was needed for Devin, the two big screens started projecting well photoshopped images of Devin’s head in various famous poses. The highlight for tonight was his face on Munch’s ‘Scream’. Unfortunatelly, when Ziltoid took over and started telling a story about coffee, Earth, poozers and the destroyer of the worlds, some of the instruments still required soundchecks, making it impossible to hear what was told. Oh well, it all got forgotten when the band entered the stage and the Ziltoids were lifted high in the air in many locations among the crowd (I was one of them). Devin was really impressed with how Rockefeller looked that night – like a wedding cake – and the smiles left his face only when he had to scream very seriously. From A to Z this concert was a joy, both on stage and in front of it.
Devin Townsend Project live @ Trondheim Metalfest 2014
When you have released countless albums with various projects, it’s maybe not easy to find the right balance and also promote the latest one, Z2 – a continuation of the Ziltoid saga. Yet, I think the setlist was smartly picked as it had something for everyone. I’ve seen people screaming their lungs out when Christeen was announced, for example. The only downside of a Devin’s concert is when he doesn’t bring Anneke along. That divine voice is what I miss the most, especially during the songs that I know by heart and when I’d like to sing along to both ‘sides’ of the story.
I would have personally loved to hear at least 3 or 4 more songs from the Z2 release, but Namaste and Hyperdrive! were well worth it. And all those dialogues in between songs. It’s probably nice for everyone to have a little break, but it’s really lovely for us to get some good laughter portions. Also some wisdom, since this 42 years old man has been around the music world for a while and he’s well entitled to tell you that you should do exactly what you like, whether you are a musician or not. And he does seem to do what he likes. otherwise he must have had trained really hard to smile so much. Not to mention that the other guys in the band seem to constantly burst into laughter, both during and between songs. Can’t be hard to be in a band with a frontman that makes you laugh.
A fantastic moment, probably easily forgotten, was when during the song ‘A new reign’ (I think), Devin started saying ‘Oh, damn, I forgot the lyrics at this part. I always do’ and then singing ‘Lyrics, lyrics, oh lyrics’ instead of the actual lyrics. After that we had the pleasure of participating into the hand dance of ‘Lucky animals’ after a bit of training. I loved this part in Prague and I think it worked fantastic in Oslo as you were in a venue with two levels of balconies. It must have been quite a sight from the stage and as I noticed the drummer taking pics, I hope they’ll end up on social medias rather soon. I personally had to take the mobile out and film this song (or mainly the hands) since it was such a lovely sight. Here’s the result, mobile phone quality:
For the encore, everyone left the stage except Devin who told us that we can pretend we call him back while someone installed a bulletbelt around him (followed by kinky comments) and then everyone participated in the cheesy moment of performing an acoustic ‘Ih Ah’. Ahh, how sweet that was. I don’t recall if there was one more song after that and before Kingdom started, but such an end was certainly an all time favourite of most of the audience. That is not an easy song to scream at the end of a show so thumbs up for the voice performance. And overall, thumbs up for the good energy and for one of the happiest concerts experiences ever. I hope Devin and his band can go on touring for more years to come and bring the joy that they do while they perform in front of you.