Gojira and The Devin Townsend Project
January 19, 2013
Review and photos by Monika Deviat
Gojira and the Devin Townsend Project started off the New Year with a North American tour and it’s one of the best touring combos we have seen in a while. Many tours have been featuring line-ups of various genre styles in order to draw larger crowds and expose people to new and/or different music. To attend a show with two bands that complement each other so well and demonstrate respect and admiration for each other’s music is a great experience. On January 19, 2013 it was a sold out home town show for Devin Townsend in Vancouver, B.C., with fans seemingly equally excited for Townsend and French band, Gojira. The Atlas Moth, the opener for the tour, wasn’t able to make it into Canada for this particular leg but having the two heavy hitters on their own was a bit of a treat. When doors opened, a long line up of fans was being ushered into the Vogue Theater one by one and from the minute the first few fans got in, there was a constant line up in front of the merch booth until the end of the show.
The Devin Townsend Project is always a unique experience. Prior to their set, a screen on stage featured various infamous internet videos, sometimes with Ziltiod joining in on the fun. When the band was finally ready to hit the stage, the floor and second tier of the theater were packed. Devin Townsend’s music and quirky personality is adored by his fellow Canadians. Townsend welcomed his hometown friends before launching into “Supercrush”. DTP followed up with two new tracks off Epicloud [Century Media/HevyDevy, 2012], “Liberation” and “Kingdom”. Although we don’t get the orchestra, the choir or Anneke van Giersbergen, the power, passion, wall of sound and sometimes just pure nerdiness that Townsend can convey with his three piece band and a small projector screen behind him is remarkable. What other musician could convince so many hordes of metalheads to do “jazz hands” during the catchy and ridiculous “Lucky Animals” (and get away with jokingly threatening that Gojira wouldn’t take the stage if the audience didn’t participate)? The closer, “Grace” was a perfect choice. One of the heaviest and most epic tunes off the aptly named Epicloud, it closed the set on a very uplifting note. Afterwards Townsend came down to say hello to his fans at the front of the barrier, working his way across shaking hands, and making many a fans’ day.
Gojira strode on stage and threw themselves right into the crushing “Explosia” and the crowd exploded in a ruckus roar in response. Their simplistic stage set up consisting of a starry background and a replica of the human head featured on the new albums cover complimented their captivating and intense presence. Drummer Mario Duplantier’s skill behind the kit and drum solo’s never fail to astound. Vocalist Joe Duplantier’s delivery of poignant vocals and crunching riffs and solos had the crowd riveted. Bassist Jean-Michel Labadie always seems to have boundless amounts of energy on stage, leaping around the stage and screaming into the crowd. Christian Andreu was a whirlwind of headbanging hair and shredding guitar. Gojira’s set had a good mix of songs from the new album L’Enfant Sauvage [Roadrunner, 2012] and some older fan favorites like “The Heaviest Matter of the Universe” and “Oroborus”.
Joe dedicated “Wisdom Comes” to Devin Townsend saying, “It is so good to be on tour with the Devin Townsend Project. I swear to God it’s incredible. Every night I’m on the side watching these guys.” For their encore Gojira also picked a great song to end their set, “The Gift of Guilt”. Mario jumped into the crowd after tossing out his drum sticks and then one by one the other members of the band also jumped out for a quick crowd surfing stint – although Joe took a little bit of cajoling from the others.