Looking back at Devin Townsend’s extensive back catalogue of bone-crushing metal to uplifting progressive masterpieces, it’s not hard to imagine that the man has a devout following everywhere he goes around the world.
Last night saw Hevy Devy and his aptly named Devin Townsend Project, make their presence known in Melbourne, Australia once more, to a sold out 170 Russell crowd.
The second of two nights in Melbourne, those who had the fortune of attending his first show were already aware of what to expect, but for those unaware, words couldn’t describe the night’s proceeds well enough. In what felt like an excellent choice, Sydney’s instrumental post-metal heroes sleepmakeswaves were along for the ride on all dates of the tour.
A quick thirty minutes after the doors were opened, sleepmakeswaves made their presence known. Right from the get-go, there was one thing embedded into the ears of the 1000-plus punters in attendance – their massive, perfectly-mixed sound.
Fresh off their latest release Made Of Breath Only, sleepmakeswaves composed a diverse setlist of fan favourites and newer tracks, much to the enjoyment of the crowd. There really isn’t much else to say about sleepmakeswaves’ set, other than this – for a band with no vocalist to hold their own supporting one of the greatest vocalists in heavy music, is not only extremely difficult, but commendable. If these Sydney boys aren’t given the chance to support Tool in the future, there is some serious injustice going on.
As the sold-out crowd began massing closer to the stage, the lights dimmed the chants erupted. Wasting no time in kicking off the night’s proceedings, Townsend gave us all a reason to “Rejoice”. A excellent setlist, jam-packed with fan favourites, B-sides and the odd few from the latest release Transcendence, no one left the venue dissatisfied. In what felt like a true highlight of the night, and the only divergence from the setlist during the whole tour, Melbourne was treated with a sublime performance of the heavily requested, rarely played “The Death of Music”, which sent punters into a trance, completely mesmerized by those on stage.
Whilst I could go on in praise about Mr. Townsend, one cannot ignore the four individuals behind him who not only complimented Townsend’s immense sound, but together, made the Devin Townsend Project feel like more than just Hevy Devy himself. Bassist Brian Waddell and drummer Ryan Van Poederooyen held down the rhythms like absolute champions, failing to slip up once during the whole set. Guitarist Dave Young was more than just “The guy next to Dev”, but was a force to be reckoned with on his own, showcasing his immense talent and technical proficiency. The live addition of keyboardist Mark St-Jean was by-far, one of the best choices the Devin Townsend Project have made in terms of adding volume to their live performances, as every element on stage seemed to revolve around each other perfectly and produce a world-class performance.
Unfortunately, it was made apparent that a couple nights ago that Townsend had encountered trouble with his voice, and after three nights in a row, it became more and more clear that he was struggling to belt out that iconic voice. Fortunately, however, despite the obvious extra effort in getting his voice to behave, Townsend produced another flawless performance. But one can only imagine, at what cost?
With the worrying aside, there wasn’t much else to say except that the night was utterly flawless. sleepmakeswaves were a force to be reckoned with, and I think I can safely say that they’ve left Melbourne with many new fans in tow. As for The Devin Townsend Project, every time Hevy Devy and the gang have come to Australia, they have never disappointed, tonight being no exception to that statement.