Monday, 14 November 2011

The Nature of Addiction

For once on a weekend, football wasn't at the centre of my universe - thanks of course to the three-nil humiliation at Hinckley which was the start of yet another low point in Darlo's history.

In truth, I wouldn't have attended a game even if Darlo had been in the first round of the FA Cup as I was already committed to attending a few gigs of one of my favourite musicians.

Devin Townsend is the fella - one-time vocalist for guitar noodler Steve Vai before creating his own extreme metal band Strapping Young Lad - and in recent years he has formed his band the Devin Townsend Project which is a bit more mellow.

Townsend was playing four straight nights in London - each gig devoted to one of his quadrilogy of DTP albums - and I was aiming to go to three of them, joined by my niece Allie who has seemingly got similar tastes to me. Gotta love those genes!

The venue for the first two gigs was the University of London Union which is close to Euston and therefore pre-gig beers were taken at the Euston Tap a few hundred yards away. Perfect for getting that pre-gig atmosphere.

The first night was devoted to Ki which is the first of the quadrilogy - quite an even paced album with a mixture of slow and fast numbers.  The venue was packed with fans from all over the world - many making the journey from North America and Scandinavia - devotion to the cause.

For the next day - when Addicted was the album to be performed - Allie and I were joined by Liz. I'd bought VIP tickets which meant we would do a meet'n'greet with the band before the gig.

Once again a few pre-gig beers in the Tap before we headed off and joined the queue of other VIPers.  As we were let in we were all given a goody bag (t-shirt,  poster, exclusive tracks on RAM key, programme, laminate etc) before the band were brought in to meet us all.

Devin got the most attention but the rest of the band are a friendly and, I'm pleased to say, hairy bunch of individuals who were genuinely pleased to meet their fans and have a good time.  The other fans were good too - no one pushing in to get to see the band first.

Being a VIP meant we were let into the venue first and so most of us headed down to the front - even if there was another three hours before the band were onstage.
Brian Waddell and Hairy Fan (who may have had a beer or two)
Support for tonight was a band called Amplifier who I'd not previously encountered.  I'd heard one track a day or so beforehand which sounded promising.

However they totally exceeded my expectations with their 40 minute set - a stunning wall of sounds - part progressive, part space-rock.  I shall be checking out their back catalogue immediately.  Check this track out - brilliant.

After what seemed an age setting up the gear for DTP and a few gremlins in the first couple of numbers, Devin hit the strage and proceeded to play Addicted in track order. The sound was excellent, helped by the vocals of Anneke van Giersbergen - what a pair of lungs. Nice legs too! And stood directly in front of me too.

There are a couple of good clips here and here.  Or this one which is taken by somebody directly behind me - quality isn't brilliant, especially my singing.

Overall the best gig I've attended for a long, long time for sound and atmosphere.  A great day from start to finish. And there will be a DVD of it too - can't wait!
Hairy Fan, Devin Townsend and niece Allie

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