Devin Townsend

support Haken
author TK date 27/11/19 venue Amager Bio, Copenhagen, DEN

So, if you weren't one of the lucky ones in attendance at Copenhagen's Amager Bio or you've never seen Devin Townsend in one the many constellations he has performed with over the years, here are some dates and locations; London on the 11th, Nottingham on the 13th or if you need a little more time to get off work and is feeling adventurous, Fort Lauderdale in January the 7th. Now run, do not walk, to get your credit card and book those plane tickets and call your boss, no matter the hour, to get some days off. Just tell your boss it was my idea.

Anyone who missed out on this Monday show should put a Devin Townsend concert on their bucket list and it should be the only item on that list after his tour-de-force performance on Monday night. As per usual, you never really know what to expect when Devin Townsend takes the stage. On this dreary winter evening, almost the entire band is decked out in flowery Hawaiian shirts and parts of the stage looks like a Tiki-lounge in which the keyboard player is mixing colorful drinks in coconuts. The video screen backdrop displays beautiful blue skies, palm trees, and a beach. There is no doubt we are for a good time with Heavy Devy tonight.

Devin Townsend

Devin takes the stage to roaring applause, he is clearly among friends here and it appears to already be enjoying himself. During the first song, "Borderland", fresh off his latest album the mood is set with a complex track, that involves everybody in this (at times) eleven-piece, even the roadies providing a little back-up singing during the chorus, only to walk off stage and do roadie stuff until the next chorus.

At one point Jack-of-all-Trades Che Aimee Dorval (Who will during this show play guitar, sing backup and dance) is meant to set off an airhorn mid-track but the horn malfunctions and the desired effect is limited. This causes Devin, along with the rest of the band, to start laughing and stop playing. Being consummate professionals they all easily lapse back into the song. It is refreshing to see in what is otherwise a very tight set-up.

"Borderlands" is a track that truly embodies lastest release "Empath" which has been called the most Devin Townsend album Devin Townsend has ever put out. At times, it is refreshingly new and at other times it seems an amalgam of Devin's entire back-catalogue. Like many other tracks off this album, it switches between quiet and introverted to loud and extroverted but mainly it just sounds like the Devin we've all come to love over the years.

Next up is "Evermore" and the large screen is showing bits from the official music video release and this is on a track that will make the hairs on your neck stand up. It is old-school Heavy Devy at times, then it is just weird (the good kind of weird, mind you), then it sounds like a cabaret song and then it is a very straight-forward rock track. Of course, it is also very prog rock.

At this point in the show, I can help myself being swept in by this amazing performer and his band playing in front of an almost sold-out Amager Bio. Much like Devin, everybody in the band seems to be truly enjoying themselves and it is hard to see it is one of their first shows on the tour.

After two songs from "Empath", it is time for some old-school Devin as "War" from his 1998 album "Infinity" is dusted off. Devin, never one to shy away from banter and audience participation, tells us that this song is about the "existential angst that is Monday" which of course elicits a huge laugh from the audience and then it is time for the first sing-along of the evening as it is obvious many in the crowd knows this one by heart. This is one of the songs in which it becomes obvious why Devin is widely considered to have the largest vocal range in rock music today so most people are struggling to keep up but they are having a hell of a time trying to be Devin for just a few minutes.

Once again Devin returns to "Empath" as the back-up singers speak the fairytale-like introduction to "Spirit". This is not of my darlings on this album but it works a heck of lot better live than on the album.

After "Spirit" most of the band leaves the stage to set Devin up for "Coast", the first "Devin Townsend Project" song of the evening. After this mellow turn, most of the band returns sans the flowery shirts signaling that the show is taking a darker turn. Che Aimee Dorval is now only performing back-up singing duties as we delve into "Devin Townsend Project" for the next several songs and the night becomes truly magical as we are treated to some of his finest work with this outfit which in ways embodies Devin Townsend.

We are also lucky enough to be treated to Deadhead, a song that is so Devin Townsend that it could easily become a joke or a caricature but damn it, it works under Devins stewardship.

Going into each song played tonight would make for a very long review as this show clocks in at a little over 2 hours but from here on out we are treated to more songs from "Empath" and Devin's extensive back-catalogue and it never for a second becomes dull or repetitive. There is also much humor and craziness. At one point he leads the crowd in a chant of "Indgroet tånegl", Danish for an ingrown toenail. I cannot think of many artists who could pull that off. At another point, Devin is wearing a black tutu (I call my Nosferatu, but nobody thinks it's funny but me) and prancing about on stage.

The regular set is boldly ended with an acoustic version of "Spirits Will Collide", which a weird way to end such an arousing set but who am I to judge? After a short break, the entire band returns and the band starts playing "Disco Inferno" which might be funny but I didn't get it.

With "Disco Inferno" out of the way it is time for another cover, this time Frank Zappa's "The Black Page #1" which is fine but at this point, I just want to hear Kingdom which I am sure will be this evening's closer and I am not disappointed.

This Devin Townsend classic is the perfect way to end this show. In my book, there isn't a song that better showcases what Devin is all about and with the promise of many more shows in the future from the happiest man in prog/Heavy metal one is leaving the show elated well aware that we have just witnessed one the greatest performers out there. Like I said, run, do not walk to secure those tickets. It just doesn't get much better than this.


Photos by: Lykke Nielsen

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