Live Review: Devin Townsend, Periphery

27 October 2015 | 12:31 pm | Tom Peasley

"This is not only one of the most talented names in music, but also one of the most genuine."

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There's good reason the line stretches hundreds of metres up and across the road. Doors are at eight, yet it looks like every ticket holder is here well before. Few artists can garner this kind of anticipation on a rainy Thursday night, so you just know you're in for a treat.

Washington djent-lords Periphery face a crowd that has the numbers most opening acts would kill for. The band plays the role of puppet-master to the crowd's heads as they fall into steady beats only to throw a rhythmic curve ball in as soon as the audience gets too comfortable. You could close your eyes and swear you were hearing a Tesseract/Protest The Hero collaboration, which sounds like heaven itself for lovers of this sub-genre of a sub-genre, but it's a very niche sound and it would be a lie to say the set doesn't get repetitive at times.

After being primed with some Toto and the Ghostbusters theme song, the crowd is mesmerised by an introductory film starring the one and only Ziltoid The Omniscient.

A Devin Townsend show isn't just a band playing, it's a whole theatric experience. The set comprises impressive projections, the phasing in and out of Ziltoid, all the while being led by the mad-man himself.The song choices please every Townsend fan variety; for early Townsend loyalists there's Deadhead, for the newer fans there's March Of The Poozers as well as Grace and to show his unrivalled vocal blend of operatic cleans and demonic screams, there's crowd favourite Supercrush!. There are no pieces from the Deconstruction album, but when you've released as much as Devy has over the years, you can't include everything. The show is incredible as an audience member, but a nightmare as a reviewer; no concoction of words can accurately pigeonhole Townsend's display of simultaneous madness and genius, and few descriptions can truly encapsulate his unique combination of sonic heaviness with thematic positivity, spirituality and self-deprecation.

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At set's end Townsend stays on stage, shakes hands with everyone up the front and has a chat with those who stick around. Townsend is a class act and seems sincerely thankful for being able to do what he does to such a loyal fan base. This is not only one of the most talented names in music, but also one of the most genuine. The only downside of this show is that it finishes.