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REVIEW : An Evening With Devin Townsend - Old Museum, Brisbane : 11.09.19

You can’t deny that Devin Townsend is one of the greatest musical minds of our time.

With a career spanning almost 30 years, Devin Townsend has pushed the boundaries of modern metal while still managing to keep his core audience happy.

Especially with his latest album Empath, which demonstrated his ability to further experiment with his sound and go above and beyond expectations.

Now I've seen Devin’ a few times over the years with his various projects and every time the man puts in 100%, even when he is jet-lagged, tired and probably just wants to go home, he has always put his performance and audience interaction first and foremost which has given him legendary status as a must-see live act.

Devin is currently touring the country with a stripped back, intimate acoustic run before he lets loose with his massive Empath world tour in a few months time and I couldn’t have been more excited to see the man play some of his most loved songs old and new in this beautiful old setting.

The sold-out evening at the Old Museum in Brisbane is split into two sets, one with the music and the other as a Q and A, giving fans the chance to ask him a few nagging questions and hear some of his stories.

After a crazy two hour drive and 10-minute run, I made it just in time to hear him play Let it Roll, one of my all-time favourite Devin songs and the track I was hoping to see him perform and to say that hit me hard like a punch in the chest is an understatement.

It’s hard not to be moved by Devin’s powerful voice and lyrics.

His insane vocal projection and acoustics of the room is an incredible combination and he even manages to work in his signature

scream throughout which is still as face-melting as it is when he is playing a heavy set.

Devin has the ability to take you from stirring emotions with tracks like Ih-Ah!, Why?, Hyperdrive (and an especially moving version of Deadhead) to rolling with laughter with his on-stage banter mid-song in the blink of an eye (even torturing the fans with Baby Shark at one point).

He is also a great storyteller, taking the time between songs to talk about their origins and explains that each album is an interpretation of significant cycles in his life.

He also tells us a hilarious tale about how the dreadlocks he used to have in the Strapping Young Lad days ended up being glued to the original Ziltoid puppet.

The Q and A section of the gig is an interesting one, prior to the show he left out some blank pieces of paper for the audience to write their questions on which results in Devin picking and choosing where to take his answers and stories without being interrupted, also giving him the chance to dive deep into some of his pretty epic history and give some insight into what the future holds like his next project The Moth which sounds like it is going to be an insane challenge he is gearing up to tackle.

The biggest surprise of the night is hearing a very dramatic atmospheric interpretation of the Strapping Young Lad song Love?

For many long-time fans this goes down as a highlight as it is famously known that he has declined to play any SYL material up until recently, a very special moment indeed.

As the man graciously leaves the stage, I reflect on how extremely lucky I feel to have attended the show tonight knowing that this may be one of the last times he performs acoustically for a very long time.

This is just a warm-up for massive things ahead, but, if anything, Devin’ proves once again that he can take you into his world and make you think, feel and be entertained in any format he delivers.

REVIEW : Nev Pearce


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