DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT + PERIPHERY + SHINING – THE CIRCUS, HELSINKI – 22/03/2015
A progressive metal feast in Helsinki
Finally we understand the great populatiry that Mr. Devin Townsend enjoys in Finland. It wasn’t 19.00 and there already was a big line of fans waiting outside the The Circus venue in a cold under-zero weather. Under the “Chaos In The Skies Tour 2015” moniker, the canadian musician and his DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT band came back to Helsinki once more, this time accompanied by american progressives PERIPHERY and the norwegian extreme and avant-garde SHINING as special guests. Here we tell you about this unforgetable Sunday evening full progressive rock and metal:
The norwegians, comanded by vocalist/saxophonist/guitarrist Jorgen Munkeby, jumped on stage at 19.30 as planned, with the venue at half capacity, but hungry por good music. SHINING delighted us with complex, high-paced and somehow chaotic songs full of improvisation and extreme music. Munkeby show himself very interacting with the public while he kept on changing from guitar to saxophone in almost every song. The excellent rythm section from the drums was in perfect harmony with the intense guitar riffs and the experimental sounds from the synths. “Do you like jazz metal?” asked the band leader, and that was what they offered to the audience: a strong download of what they have called “blackjazz” (black metal + jazz + prog rock + industrial). The show was around thirty minutes long and presented six songs: «The Madness and the Damage Done», «The One Inside», «Fisheye», «My Dying Drive», «HEALTER SKELTER» and «I Won’t Forget». It’s just amazing the evolution this band has accomplished in the last 10 years, starting as a jazz quartet and evolving into a powerful force of avant-garde and extreme metal.
Next turn was for US’ PERIPHERY. While the stage was being prepared for them, we could hear on the background some tracks from the “Pretty Hate Machine” album by NINE INCH NAILS and the song “You’ve Seen The Butcher” from the alternative metal band DEFTONES. Once again on schedule, PERIPHERY went on stage at 20.15 and a venue much closer to full capacity (mostly filled with young fans) welcomed them euphorically. With the three guitar players Misha Mansoor, Jake Bowen and Mark Halcomb, the band showed an impressive energy on stage. A mix of complex chords forming progressive melodies, electronics effects and masterly skilled solos. The distorted and strong bass of Adam Getgood was not less impressive, while drummer Matt Halpern showed his great technique and rythm quality. All them where fronted by Spencer Sotelo, showing his vocal capacity to be as good as his partners habilitéis while fulfilling his frontman duties, being always energetic and in great harmony with the audience, even crowdiving during thier last song. Most of the songs played from their recent double album “Juggernaut: Alpha” and “Juggernaut: Omega”. In summary, a total of 45 minutes of intensity in eight songs: «Icarus Lives!», «Make Total Destroy», «Psychosphere», «22 Faces», «The Bad Thing», «Alpha» and «Graveless». The ended their show with a very excited audience demanding one more.
DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT
While they were retiring all PERIPHERY gear from the stage in order to prepare it for the headliner, two big screens turned on, one at each side of the drum kit. In those we could see, to the audience delight, a series of images with Devin Townsend face overlapped. It was really cool to see Devin’s face over famoues images or paintings suchs as Edgard Munch’s “The Scream”, E.T.’s face, the 50 Cents’ album cover, Marilyn Monroe, Batman and Joker’s faces, the Kraken, some Star Wars characters, the Twilight cover or DEATH’s “Spiritual Healing” cover. We could also see a short video of Ziltoid in those screens.
Again on schedule, lights went off at 21.30 and Devin Townsend and his band jumped on stage, received with screams of joy. They quickly started the show with “Truth” from their thirdh album “Infinity”. A powerful band comanded by Townsend in the main guitar and the voice displayed it full potencial through a modern visual performance, with the two afore-mentioned screens showing progressive and pshychodelic images, an excellent Light work and a powerful sound that amazed the whole venue (which was now on full capacity). The show consisted on songs from all of Devin’s discography, including his solo, the DEVIN TOWNSEND BAND and the DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT. Of course, they saved space for some tracks from the recent «Z²» album.
The band continued the show with “Deathray”, “Namaste” and “Night” during which we bare witness to the great shape drummer Ryan Van Poederooyen is in, who hammered his kit with surgical precission and no mercy, and the agility and deep tones of Brian Waddel’s bass. After that calm returned with the proggy and melodic “Storm” from the “Acelerate Evolution” album. The beautiful riffs from Townsend and Dave Yound were a perfect fit for the delicated textures comino from Mike St-Jean’s keyboards.
As you know humor can’t miss in a Devin Townsend show, so during the interpretation of “Addicted” a guy from the audience threw a pair of plastic boobs to the stage, which Townsend placed on his head inmediatly (with some help from a technician) while performing a fantastic guitar solo. Another curious moment of the night happend when Devin talk to us in a very serious tone about progressive metal and this style not being as popular as other metal styles nowadays, but how it, even though, find a way through the fans. Following that he asked the audience for help with the “Lucky Animals” backing vocals, but we could not wave our arms or clan, but instead only do “jazz hands”. A very funny exercise that lasted the whole song.
Finally, the band said goodbye with the song “Christeen” from the “Infinity” album. The whole band went off the stage under the dark, but the audience kept on yelling for more, so a really thankful Townsend came back to the stage to perform an intimate a capella version of the delicate “Ih-Ah” with the lonely companion of his guitar and a trembly light. After that, the whole band returned to the stage and the band put a final end to the night with the operistic-ish “Kingdom”, putting a goleen brouche toa n excelent musical night. The audience was still asking for more and a completly crowded The Circus venue shouted out Devin’s name. There were fifteen songs in the setlist, played through an tour and fifteen minutes show. In summary, the shows from all of the three bands were very intense and with no fillings: extreme avant-garde from norweigan SHINING, freshness and intensity from PERIPHERY and perfectionism from DEVIN TOWNSEND PROJECT. It apperas Mr. Devin Townsend is right: there is room for progressive metal in this times of musical madness.