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Live Review: Devin Townsend Project (Hysteria)

My review of Devin Townsend Project at 170 Russell on 23rd May:

Photo: Elizabeth Kent

Witnessing the brutality Manchester had me seething. I was mad. Mad enough to kill. As editor of this fine publication (which one is that again?), music is kind of a big deal around here. Terror lancing through the heart of music is a counterpoint; a movement set to war.

Those 22 souls cut from their lives that night will never be forgotten. Our tears can’t wash their memories away. I really felt guilty stepping into 170 Russell to enjoy myself at a rock ‘n’ roll show.

The crowd at this first (yet second?) show on Canuck maestro Devin Townsend’s tour was moderate. Punters stood about, sensing there was something off, just about being here.



Pain and Pleasure

Judas Priest's penchant for ostentation was not stifled last night at the Hisense Arena; the band was surrounded by huge black and red draconian sets, watched over by a canvas Nostradamus with glowing red eyes who saw Rob Halford elevated into the stadium, clad in flowing suits of leather and studs. (He even was wheeled out on a motorcycle during the encore, not forgetting his trademark moves.) They shied away from newer material (opening with Nostradamus), electing the "Maiden" method of playing crowd favorites from their golden era, less talking and more rocking. Though wearied by age, there was no denying their energy to keep their unique brand of heavy metal mania alive. If there's one thing to be said about Judas Priest, is that they've always been the sensuous metal band - while Maiden can be very rocking and inspiring, they can sometimes feel distant and over-intellectual - Halford and co. really know how to get under your skin and run a gamut of emotion.

Strangely, later on while riding the train home, a short, sandy blonde middle-aged yet well-drunk woman who had devolved into child-like inquisitiveness launched into a incessant inquiry of anything and everything, asking some rather inane questions of some bemused metalheads.

"Does your t-shirt have France on it?"
The not-too-friendly rivethead sporting a clean shaven head save for a mohawk and long, braided pony-tail laughed and shook his head in amusement.
"What?" he exclaimed. "Who cares? It's irrelevant, etc." His mates couldn't help but quietly piss themselves laughing.
She asked if one of his mates could have a look for her. He declined. She began to pout, while being scolded by her husband. "But I'm just being friendly! I just wanted to know." she protested.

A fellow witness to this ridiculous display sitting across from me rolled his eyes and shook his head. I agreed. Wearing a faded leather jacket and a mustache like steel-wool I asked whether he had been to Judas Priest as well. He said he hadn't, but just as he opened his mouth, Ms. Inquisitive started up another one of her tantrum-like rants when he said "Women are like beings from another planet." She asked us what we were talking about. I told her, in no uncertain terms. She shut up. I also had to inform her that Amsterdam was a city, not a country. My new mate reminisced about his time there; "It's a great place. I can always remember arriving there but never remembering how I got home." A further stimulation of my wanderlust.

What was he doing tonight? "Went to see a lady friend," he says reservedly, while heaving a sigh. "She's very, very highly strung. She kicked me out." What for? "She wanted me to show a pic that flashed up on my phone. I said she wouldn't like it, I relented, she saw it and the told me to piss off." He was clutching a motorcycle helmet too; "I have to go get it in the morning." Fuck that, I thought. "I know," he continued, "my mates think I'm mad. I have about a 25% hit rate with her." My face was obviously in disbelief. "Well, having that said, she is very, very, entertaining." She must be if she's only letting you in for entertainment 1 in 4 times. "I know I'm stupid. But entertainment like that only comes around once in a lifetime." I said he was crazy, but he insisted "If you knew what I knew, you'd do it too." True enough; men are dumb creatures. Luckily enough for me, I don't have to date them.


Omnia Bellum Omnes

So I've been hailing my brothers the last few days. So here you go. o/ (it's a hail!) Peter - you are rock and roll!

Went to see Soilwork yesterday. Seeing Bjorn Strid, loose-cannon maniac is quite the experience after talking to him as Bjorn Strid, contemplative lyricist and dog-silencer extraordinaire.

Some great fun was had meeting some of Karen's mates as well as witnessing a thrilling high-energy rock show, although a conversation with an obviously speeding/peaking kid rather amused me:

(Wearing my beloved Dark Tranquillity t-shirt)
Kid: Yeah! Dark Tranquillity! They rock!
Me: Indeed they do.
Kid: They're fucking amazing! etc.
Me: They've never written a shit song, i reckon.
Kid: Yeah, they're great! HAVEN! What an album!
Me: Fuckin' a, mate.
Kid: But what about that song Fabric? Great song...but why did they call it Fabric? (laughing)
Me: Because they're Swedish and they don't know any better.
Kid: Touche. (walks off, confused)

Two 21sts this weekend. Good luck with that.