It’s night no.3 of Devin Townsend’s four night London residency under the An Evening with The Devin Townsend Project banner, and tonight was the night things really got weird. When you’re talking about Devin Townsend, that’s some claim. With Deconstruction by far the most guest-musician stuffed record from Townsend’s 4-album series, just how was he going to reproduce it all live? Ruth Booth was on hand to find out.
Six things we found out when we saw Devin Townsend perform Deconstruction in full:
1) Stray balloons emblazoned with “Ziltoid For President” are already drifting about the crowd as Shining depart the stage tonight. Here and there flutter little orange and black flags, stamped with a “Z” insignia. Ladies and gentlemen, this is not merely the third installment of An Evening with The Devin Townsend Project – specifically that for Deconstruction – but in fact the gala opening event for the Ziltoid for President 2011 campaign. So ready your fluorescent glowing dance sticks, commence the coffee percolations, and prepare to gorge yourselves upon the largest bovine-based sandwich product ever to grace the theatrical stages of Fair Blighty.
2) As befits a spectacle of this magnitude, ladles and gentlespoons, Mr. Townsend has assembled a cast of most outstanding players. While eager hopes for an appearance from Mr. Mikael Akerfeldt might have have been dashed (Opeth are playing Birmingham the same night), one cannot fault an audiographic appearance from Mr. Joe Duplantier of Gojira as a giant singing whale.
3) Other dramatis personae are rendered variously as socks (Messr. Greg Puciato), perma-tanned muppet cheerleaders (Mme. Floor Jansen) and very hairy Swedish Djentlemen (Lord Fredrick Thordendal). Whether Master of percussion, Mr. Dirk Verbeuren may have appeared as himself is a matter of some debate amongst the crowd. Owing to his astounding feats of velocity with the celebrated blast beat, it was rather difficult to perceive if he was there or no.
Devin Townsend performs 'Deconstruction' @ London ULU - 12 November 2011 c/o Ruth Booth
4) While it is undoubtedly Mr Townsend’s skills as a composer of deceptively dense musical scores that garner attention these days, it is easy to forget what an accomplished musician the gentleman is. Naturally, he himself reminds us of this with his most superlative technique on ‘Planet of the Apes’. Let it never be said that he does not provide a feast for the other senses too, particularly on ‘The Mighty Masturbator’ and the titular composition. Hear the sock puppet vocalists scream their approval! See the Canadians in Stars and Stripes top hats! Gasp as the Hell’s Underbelly Choir cower before the giant fibreglass Cheeseburger! Good God, our journalist must be excused to vacate her bowels!
5) What, I ask you, what could top such a spectacle? Perhaps live reworkings of extracts from Mr Townsend’s early musical composition, the Punky Brüster – Cooked On Phonics album? So much the better for being performed in such scrappy, rough house style, as if to entertain those cheery lower class souls of the East End.
6) “We’re all in this together. We’re all a strange collective of nerds. Without you, it doesn’t Alpen? It doesn’t breakfast cereal without you.“ Cradles and mentalgoons, if there is one thing that can be learned from tonight’s entertainment, it is this: There is no speech a man can give that is so worthy – so poignant, sublime and heart-stirring – that it cannot be rendered utterly ridiculous by his holding a giant inflatable penis.
Devin Townsend performs Deconstruction @ London ULU setlist:
Praise The Lowered
Planet Of The Apes
The Mighty Masturbator