Gig Review: Devin Townsend Project and For the Imperium, May 4th, The Academy

Proving that their country can master any music that involves heavy guitars, Finnish post-hardcore act For The Imperium opened the Academy last night. It was a thrillingly energetic performance, complete with climbing the stage, mounting the barrier, and great crowd interaction by the guitarist; the actual singer doesn’t seem to speak much English, despite singing in the language.

It’s a band like this that show why the label post-hardcore applies to bands as different in sound as At the Drive-In and Bring Me The Horizon (If you don’t know these bands, start knowing At the Drive-In, but BMTH can probably be safely ignored). For The Imperium combine the riffs and clean vocal passages of the metalcore end of the spectrum with the spontaneity and rhythmic energy of At the Drive-In, and impressive guitar and bass work of their own. They’re definitely worth keeping an eye on.

The main act, the Devin Townsend Project, took to the stage after a lengthy video introduction – his signature Ziltoid TV (a collection of comically bizarre videos, curated by Ziltoid the Omniscient himself) entertain the crowd during the band’s soundcheck.

When it comes to the band’s set, I have to make a small confession: I love Devin Townsend, having seen him twice before and enjoyed the hell out of his show both times, but I never remember to invest the time in his albums. This means that when I do see him, I don’t know the songs – but it doesn’t matter.

Devin Townsend is the most charming front man in metal. Every aspect of the show seems to be carefully planned – from keeping the audience entertained (and preparing them for Devin’s highly silly sense of humour) with the pre-show Ziltoid TV segment, to the videos playing in sync with the band – everything combines to present a well-polished, extremely entertaining stage show. The sound quality wasn’t quite up to his usual (exceptionally high) standards at the beginning of the show, but that got resolved within a few songs.

His stage banter shows how well he knows his audience – asking “Does anyone smell NERD in here!?”, and his general charming self-deprecating humour. He also knows how to send up the music itself – two segments where he lampoons Meshuggah and Between the Buried and Me (complete with puppet videos, of course) were not only hilarious, but the BTBAM skit managed to sound exactly like the band in question.

As for the music itself – I just find something so feelgood about Devin Townsend’s music. The songs are so full of positive emotion and affirming feelings, without ever compromising on heaviness. Every song strikes a good balance between being heavy, interesting and catchy – I don’t know of anyone else who can write such commercially appealing music that is so musically interesting.

Laugh, love, live, learn!

Opera Advice Columns

Dear Bill,

love the blog. I’m writing to you to ask for your help with some girl problems I’ve been having.

I was going to marry this real nice girl my mother adopted. But then I fell in love with this other girl, who works in a factory. I did some prison time because I helped her get off an assault charge when she stabbed one of her coworkers. The day that I get out, I go to meet her, and we have a really great time – but then when I have to leave to go to work, she accuses me of not really loving her, and asks me to run away with her to live on the road. Then my boss shows up and starts flirting with her (and she doesn’t seem to mind). So I fight him, and he kicks my ass, but her dodgy gangster friends distract him and I stab him in the heart.

Then I’ve to go on the run. One day, everyone else is out on business and they leave me guarding the stash house. This guy turns up – he’s the champion bullfighter of Seville – and it turns out he’s been carrying on with my girl! She’s been seeing him behind my back! So I fight him, and he kicks my ass, but her dodgy gangster friends come back just in time to save me for getting murdered. She says she doesn’t want me around any more, and I refuse to go – I’m staying with this girl even if it kills us both, because isn’t that what love is about? But then I hear my mother’s really sick, so I go back home to be with her for a while.

That’s where I am now. I haven’t been in contact with the girl since, but I know they’re all going to a big bullfight in Seville next week. I’ve been thinking maybe I’ll go too, follow her around for a while, and maybe murder her if she won’t take me back. I just don’t know Bill, what should I do?

 -Nervous in Navarre

Opera characters need to work on their communication skills.

Kirkos: Rite

I am terribly terribly excited to announce the Kirkos: Rite event!

To celebrate the centenary of Stravinsky’s seminal ballet The Rite of Spring, Kirkos have enlisted 14 of Ireland’s leading professional and student composers. Each one of these titans of modern Irish music has reimagined a section of the Rite for string trio.

The project will be launched in the Odessa Club on the 29th of May; more details will  be announced over the next two weeks but for now, the Dylanesque stylings of Robert Coleman will say it better than I ever could: