Abstract Reality Tour 2014
Co-headliners Devin Townsend Project and Animals As Leaders
November 22, 2014
Review & Photos by Monika Deviat
The Abstract Reality tour with Co-headliners Animals as Leaders and the Devin Townsend Project stopped at the Gateway in Calgary, Alta., on November 22, 2014. It was a technically skilled line up with a variety of genres. Support for this tour was Monuments from Washington DC. The show was sold out and a bigger venue could probably have been chosen – there were many people looking for tickets and still trying to score some tickets from anyone they could up to the day of the show.
Monuments started at 8pm sharp. Having played in Calgary previously they developed a solid fan base here. The venue was almost full at this point and crowded up at the barrier. A few songs into the set, vocalist Chris Barretto jumped up on the barrier, balancing quite well while singing into the crowd. Throughout their set he was leaping up on the barrier and even strolling back and forth across the narrow surface with some minor help from fans. The setlist was energetic and the musicianship versatile and engaged. The crowd on this night enjoyed the short performance.
Animals As Leaders had the audience enthralled with their technical musicianship. A stillness settled in as the band stoically delivered their completely instrumental songs and everyone watched and listened, taking in the tight delivery. The LED screens were put to use at this point playing psychedelic like images. Guitarist Tosin Abasi – who held a guitar clinic at Noctis 666 the last time he was in Calgary – played his complex riffs and solos with ease, and often with his eyes closed seemingly lost in the music.
The Devin Townsend Project played at the Gateway in 2011 and that was an amazing and intimate experience. This time there was a the barrier erected between the band and fans and there was a new stage that was raised just barely more than a foot above the ground making the show a little less intimate and harder to view. Luckily Townsend had his own riser on stage where he spent most of the set. The rest of the band was difficult to see though drummer Ryan Van Poederooyen would stand up and salute the crowd with his sticks. Newest addition Mike St-Jean on keys/synths was somewhat hidden behind cabinets. The band was mostly backlit as the lights in front of the stage were turned off for DTP’s set. It’s always fun to watch Townsend interact with the crowd and his quips and random stories are always hilarious – to quote from the Calgary show “I hate potato pancakes. Fuck you mom.”
The set started off with “Regulator” off of Ocean Machine [HevyDevy, 1997] then went through a selection of songs off of Z2 [HevyDevy, 2014]. The Ziltoid themed songs, like “Ziltodian Empire” and “March of the Poozers”, had Townsend asking the crowd to “show me your Ziltoids!”. Off of the Sky Blue side of the album “Rejoice”, “Midnight Sun” and “A New Reign” were included. “Bad Devil” was a surprise but one that had the crowd dancing, especially one gentlemen that Townsend spotted side stage near the sound board, who had some excellent and enthusiastic dance moves. A single song encore of “Death Ray” ended the night and afterwards Townsend came right up to the crowd to shake hands, bump fists and say a quick hello to the fans.