Devin Townsend/Mind Riot – Belfast, Limelight – 13 June 2017 Print E-mail
Written by Jonni D and Marc Leach   
Thursday, 22 June 2017 04:30

Following a triumphant set at Download Festival and having just been named Metal Hammer’s ‘Riff Lord’ at the Golden Gods Award Ceremony, there’s a lot to celebrate in the Devin Townsend camp. And it appears that there’s plenty in attendance at the Limelight tonight willing to join him in revelling in his recent successes. Despite the early doors, there’s a lengthy queue of eager fans vying for a spot in front of the eccentric Canuck. Previous Belfast shows have been overwhelmingly well received, and so there are high expectations as the audience awaits the Devin Townsend Project’s arrival.



First up tonight is Mind Riot, a three-piece unit hailing from Mitchelstown in County Cork, with an overall heavy, alternative rock sound. It’s perhaps not the most obvious choice as a support act for this particular headliner, but there’s a hell of a lot of goodwill afforded to the lads. And it’s very much deserved. Luckily, Mind Riot benefit from the amount of folk who turned up so early, with the room consistently filling during their stage time, allowing them to play to a considerable crowd. Despite some early issues with the vocal mix, the sound concerns are quickly rectified and they are free to impress the attendees with their pinch-harmonic laden riffage.


Crucially though, Mind Riot knows how to craft a hook, and successfully conducts the crowd into participatory sing-alongs during ‘Fire’ and ‘Boyz of the Tomahawk.’ It’s an impressive feat, given that presumably this is an audience largely unfamiliar with the material. There’s a lot to be said for the genial stage presence of vocalist/guitarist, Tony Gorry, whose charming interactions and genuine gratitude charms the crowd to no end.



Tonight was always going to be about one man though, and as the extreme/prog metal mad scientist takes the stage, he and his accompanying band receive a raucous reception. “Are you ready to get super awkward together?” Devin asks the crowd, before opening the set with a spirited rendition of ‘Rejoice.’ The “awkward” behaviour of the evening includes the partaking in “super cheesy heavy metal handclaps” and “that Motley Crűe fist pump thing”, of which the crowd is keen to oblige. As usual, Devin is in fine comedic form, firing out verbose quips with consistent regularity, and taking great glee in the one solitary Ziltoid puppet held high above the crowd. With a near unlimited supply of facial expressions at his disposal, Devin is never any less than eccentrically charismatic in his onstage persona.


In the end, it all comes down to the music itself, and Devin Townsend Project effectively recreates the wall of sound that is so prevalent on Devin’s studio recordings. Culling material from a variety of the main man’s solo endeavours, the set list is a fairly comprehensive one. Fan favourites ‘Deadhead’ and ‘Hyperdrive!’ sound monumental, while ‘Where We Belong’ from ‘Epicloud’ retains the melodic ambience of the album version with an added sonic power in the live setting. In reality, to cherry pick individual songs is something of a disservice, as the set list is watertight with each inclusion going down a storm with the crowd. Hevy Dev himself is on phenomenal form vocally; his operatic falsettos as overblown as his shrieks are intense.



After explaining the due process of an encore, Devin returns for a delightfully bonkers rendition of the acoustic ‘Ih-Ah’, before the full band closes with the soaring cadences of ‘Higher.’ With the feedback still ringing out, Devin leaps to the front row to shake hands and bump fists with all those in reach, proof that he remains one of the most affable, as well as versatile, men in metal. From the sheer charisma of the man himself to the expanse of the music, it all amounts to a rather splendid way to spend a Tuesday evening.


PHOTO CREDIT: All photos © Marc Leach/Uber Rock. You can view our full gallery of photos HERE.


Devin Townsend headlines the ‘Prog In The Park’ stage at the Ramblin’ Man Fair on Sunday 30 July.


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