Greetings, geekazoids. It is I, Cary, and I bring forth a concert review. Upon hearing of this tour, and that there was a local Houston date, excitement rushed over me. Well, excitement, was not a strong enough of a word! A headlining gig for one of my favorite artists, Devin Townsend got me uber excited! And one of my other favorites, was opening the tour, Paradise Lost, was enough to cause me to count down the days until this tour hit town. And, Katatonia thrown in was like icing on an already delicious cake!
When the night of the show was upon us, we hurriedly were rushing to the gig, when my wife read some disturbing news on her phone. Someone had posted that Paradise Lost was indeed not playing the show this evening, due to Nick Holmes having throat problems. This was most disheartening news indeed. But not enough to deter our concert going experience, well, almost. Once we arrived, it was true. Paradise Lost was indeed not playing on this date of the tour. Noooo….But as they say, the show must go on.
We get inside Warehouse Live Studio, which is a small club attached to a much bigger club. This is where smaller tours come to play, and sometimes it can get quite crowded in there. Nut to Butt. I rushed over to the merch booth to check it out, as I have been greedily saving my money for this night. I purchased way too much Devin Townsend merch, including a tshirt, the new deluxe CD, a Ziltoid hand puppet, and a Devin Townsend hoodie. But I was happy.
The opening band on the tour was a band I had never heard of before called Stolen Babies. They played a very strange blend of musical styles. The female vocalist played an accordion, strangely enough. I can’t say that I was really a fan. They weren’t bad, but just not my cup of tea. I swear one song had a very dark Castlevania vibe to it, even down to the melody. They played a little longer than I would have preferred, and as they finally left the stage, the preparation for Katatonia began.
Katatonia took the stage with no major fanfare, and began to play their melancholic brand of metal. I have seen Katatonia many times in the past few years, and they never disappoint. Jonas Renkse’s vocals were pure, and heartfelt as ever, and are the perfect compliment to the band’s guitar driven melodic metal. These guys have certainly changed over the years, but to these ears, they keep on getting better and better. Katatonia’s sound is built upon layer and layer of sound. Everything with the band’s music always fits into place; well executed and thought out drum patterns, multi textured guitar riffs, and of course, the soulful vocals of Jonas. They were able to play about 15 minutes longer due to Paradise Lost not performing, and left the stage rather abruptly, it felt, after some technical difficulties. The songs performed were varied, including some new tracks from the new album, “Dead End Kings” that I am not overly familiar with quite yet, and fan favorites including “Deliberation”, “My Twin”, the old school “Deadhouse” and my favorite, “Teargas”. There seems to be more and more fans to see them every time they play through, but I was eagerly waiting a headline performance from Devin Townsend. Expect some live shots from Katatonia soon from one of our new writers.
This was only my second time seeing the Devin Townsend Project perform live, and the first headline length performance. The last time I saw them was on the tour with Cynic, and Between The Buried And Me, and Devin’s performance was riddled with technical problems, and was abbreviated because of those problems. After an eternity of waiting, and watching some kooky videos from Devin projected on a screen behind the band, which was utilzed during the entire performance, Devin and his band finally stormed the stage, and after some words from Devin, the band broke into “Supercrush”, one of my all time favorite songs from any band. This song had the entire club singing along, although disappointing that he couldn’t get Anneke for every show. The setlist only got better from there. I couldn’t have been happier with the songs chosen to play on this tour, as you got a sampling of a lot of different Devin Townsend albums. Everything from War and Truth from “Infinty”, Kingdom from “Physicist” and now re-recorded for “Epicloud”, Vampira from “Synchestra”, Juular and Planet of the Apes from “Deconstruction” (Brutalness), Regulator from “Ocean Machine”, and a smattering of new songs from the brand new album, “Epicloud”. During the bouncy performance of Lucky Animals, Devin asked for the audience to dance more strangely than he did in the music video he released, and a majority of the people at least tried. “Rock, Let’s Rock. The time has come to forget all the Bullshit, and just Rock!” That is my favorite line from Liberation off the new album, and was already emblazoned in my my mind before the show, a full week before the album was released. Thankfully, the promo had hit my ears just a few days earlier, and I was able to take it in before the show a few times. Where We Belong, off the new album as well, has such a beautiful and haunting melody; it was a real delight to hear this song live. Since the band got to play an extra 15 minutes as well, they broke into a live version of “Babysong” during their set. Devin made mention that this was the first time this song had been performed live, and it was an honor to witness. Devin was indeed his usual effervescent self, and really know how to command a crowd, no matter how big or small. Devy has his fans eating right out of his hands, myself included. There were indeed some crazy moshing going on in this small club, and indeed strange. If you have never seen the band live before, you must do yourself and witness the spectacle that is a Devin Townsend show live. It really isn’t just a concert, it is an experience. I would go see him on a weekly basis, or at least monthly. I am already looking forward to my next Devin Townsend live experience.