Devin Townsend is no stranger to performing his albums in their entirety. He did a four night residency at the University Of London Union in November 2011 performing the DTP’s first four albums and performed the entire ‘Z2’ album at a spectacular concert at The Royal Albert Hall in April 2015.
Currently touring in support of his latest masterpiece, ‘Transcendence’, Devin informed his fans a few months ago that his concert at Hammersmith would be a UK exclusive performance of his second solo album ‘Ocean Machine: Biomech’.
Words and Pictures: Robert Adams
Expectations were sky high inside a packed Hammersmith Odeon (Eventim Apollo) as the house lights dimmed and the Devin Townsend Project strolled onstage with minimal fuss or fanfare. The first thing to notice was a total absence of the stage props that were such a massive part of his ‘Z2’ performance at The Albert Hall. Instead, performing on a completely white stage and floor with a huge projected backdrop of the ocean with the moon shining above, Devin and his Project, dressed all in black, wasted no time in getting straight into ‘Seventh Wave’.
The sound quality was exceptional throughout the evening, with the bass thumping in your chest and everything crystal clear in the mix. ‘Ocean Machine: Biomech’ is an album that ebbs and flows with a myriad of soundscapes and textures and it is to the DTP’s credit that all the sonic textures from the album are reproduced quite magnificently live.
‘Night’ produced more head bopping and grooving than any progressive Heavy Metal gig has any right to have. Always a thing of natural wonder, Devin’s vocals were on point throughout the evening. Projecting everything from a whisper to a scream, sometimes in the same song, it is quite remarkable to witness live. Getting the chance to hear the last four tracks of the ‘Ocean Machine: Biomech’ album live was very special indeed. ‘Funeral’, ‘Bastard’, ‘The Death Of Music’ and ‘Thing Beyond Things’ were nothing less than SPECTACULAR and were worthy of the admission price alone.
‘The Death Of Music’, with minimal percussion from Ryan Van Poederooyen and Devin alone at the mic, was a beautifully haunting experience and the final terrifying scream of ‘Thing Beyond Things’ is something that will remain with all who witnessed it for a very long time indeed.
As the final scream died away and the ‘Ocean Machine: Biomech’ album came to a close, Devin thanked his remarkable band for their patience and astonishing musicianship in getting this performance from his mind to the stage and also heaped praise on a very thankful audience for allowing him to “do this shit for the last twenty-five years”.
Oh no Devin – THANK YOU!!!
After a very short break, the DTP came back onstage with Devin saying: “So we’ve spent almost an hour-and-a-half twenty years in the past, let’s do a few from the present,” and ‘Failure’, ‘Stormbending’ and ‘Higher’ from his ‘Transcendence’ album finished off proceedings quite magnificently.
There are very few artists who can command such a wall of sound and have such a breadth of styles without making it sound like a train wreck but the Devin Townsend Project are in total command. With each subsequent album release and tour, Devin Townsend continues to make wonderful sounds and play bigger shows without diluting his craft. He remains one of music’s true maverick geniuses and I would urge anyone with a remote interest in music to check him out. You won’t be disappointed.