Review by Lulu Davenport. photos by Sean Larkin
First up to entertain the rather sticky and sweaty main hall at legendary Rock City was Empire, a five piece high energy rock outfit armed with random witty banter about superheroes and not nice bosses. This band has an infectious energy which is well received by the crowd.
Next up for this Sonisphere warm up show were Thine, again a five piece set up, with Alan Gaunt providing a powerful lead vocal brandishing their experimental rock while menacingly staring into the crowd. They performed tracks off previous album Therapy and the new album Dead City Blueprint.
The main act starts proceedings with a bizarre slideshow featuring hypnotic dancing cows, there’s an impressive welcome for the much anticipated, Devin Townsend. After a slight mishap with his guitar Devin opens his set with ‘Seventh Wave’ from the 1997 album Ocean Machine. His style has seen him through sixteen albums and he and his band play a mixture from Epicloud, Deconstruction and Addicted. Although tonight sees his first stage appearance since surfacing from mixing a new album; he appears relaxed and even humbled at the immense response he receives from the crowd (some even have the mascot Ziltoid puppets!).
I do, however, believe a change in name is in order, as Devin Townsend Experience seems more appropriate, as a project he has set out to accomplish what he has done already, a fusing together of genres while flirting between the melodic and the downright full on heavy without batting an eyelid. His set is engineered to highlight these differences while embracing the musical styles. This was highlighted with ‘By Your Command’ which descended into heavy guitar thrashing reminiscent of extreme metal band The Berzerker, which gave way to the next track a gentle melodic rock offering. The night reaches a finale with ‘Bad Devi’l. It’s been a fantastic gig I highly recommend checking them out if you’re lucky enough at Sonisphere, Failing that, purchase any of his four albums under Devin Townsend Project; there should be something there for everyone.
1. Seventh Wave
3. By Your Command
5. Planet Of The Apes
12. Bad Devil