Devin Townsend and Animals As Leaders on the Dreamsonic tour

Devin Townsend and Animals As Leaders joined Progressive Metal pioneers Dream Theater on the first edition of their Dreamsonic tour across North America.

Devin Townsend – Animals As Leaders

Hartford Amphitheater, Bridgeport – 30 June 2023

Words and Photography: Shannon Wilk

Devin Townsend

Devin Townsend - Hartford Amphitheater, Bridgeport - 30 June 2023
Devin Townsend – Hartford Amphitheater, Bridgeport – 30 June 2023. Photo: Shannon Wilk/MetalTalk

Taking the stage just before Dream Theater was the much less serious but equally as talented Devin Townsend. Townsend walks up to the mic and excitedly asks, “How’s your balls!?”.

“Mine are older and saggier than they once were, but because this is a Prog Metal show, I’d say I’m not the only one.” He goes on to introduce his band and begins the set with Lightworker from his 2022 album. The Canadian Prog Metaller brought the energy of the room way up with his antics and entertaining stage presence.

Devin Townsend - Hartford Amphitheater, Bridgeport - 30 June 2023
Devin Townsend – Hartford Amphitheater, Bridgeport – 30 June 2023. Photo: Shannon Wilk/MetalTalk

“I dislike everybody equally,” Townsend says and rambles for a couple of minutes before yelling, “Eat shit! Dimensions.” He begins playing the theremin. “I paid $400 for this [theremin] thing. This is what I bring to the table for post-pandemic touring!” Not only did Townsend’s set feature his brilliant original songs, but it also included an extended instrumental jam highlighting his guitarist Mike Keneally and himself.

Devin Townsend - Hartford Amphitheater, Bridgeport - 30 June 2023
Devin Townsend – Hartford Amphitheater, Bridgeport – 30 June 2023. Photo: Shannon Wilk/MetalTalk

Devin Townsend and his band closed out with their song Bad Devil, all wearing giant orange cowboy hats. As someone who had known nothing about Devin Townsend prior to the show, I’ve got to say they certainly have a new fan, and I doubt I’m the only one.

Devin Townsend - Hartford Amphitheater, Bridgeport - 30 June 2023
Devin Townsend – Hartford Amphitheater, Bridgeport – 30 June 2023. Photo: Shannon Wilk/MetalTalk

Animals As Leaders

The night started off strong with Los Angeles’s Animals As Leaders coming on promptly at 7 PM. The three-piece instrumental Djent group is the brainchild of guitarist Tosin Abasi. Unlike traditional Metal shows, the entire audience stayed seated, intently analyzing the artistry of these highly technical songs.

Animals As Leaders - Hartford Amphitheater, Bridgeport - 30 June 2023
Animals As Leaders – Hartford Amphitheater, Bridgeport – 30 June 2023. Photo: Shannon Wilk/MetalTalk

Animals As Leaders let the music do the talking through their ten-song-set, almost never speaking in the mics between songs. After the group opened with an older tune, Ectogenesis, they focused mainly on tracks from their 2022 album, Parrhesia. The crowd seemed pleased with the showcase of the newer songs but even more thrilled to see the band close out their set with a few of their older releases.

Animals As Leaders - Hartford Amphitheater, Bridgeport - 30 June 2023
Animals As Leaders – Hartford Amphitheater, Bridgeport – 30 June 2023. Photo: Shannon Wilk/MetalTalk

You can read the Dream Theater report here.

Animals As Leaders - Hartford Amphitheater, Bridgeport - 30 June 2023
Animals As Leaders – Hartford Amphitheater, Bridgeport – 30 June 2023. Photo: Shannon Wilk/MetalTalk
Devin Townsend - Hartford Amphitheater, Bridgeport - 30 June 2023
Devin Townsend – Hartford Amphitheater, Bridgeport – 30 June 2023. Photo: Shannon Wilk/MetalTalk

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