Friday at Bloodstock Festival concludes with the kind of kaleidoscopic effervescence that only Devin Townsend can create – a-none-more-eccentric clash of heavy metal grandstanding and self-effacing nerd-chic that’s made him adored by…everyone.
Playing a setlist voted for by fans on the Bloodstock website ensures a series of bangers from throughout his diverse discography. Acolytes of his frenzied early years greet the explosive groove of Strapping Young Lad’s Aftermath with neck-snapping glee, followed by the monumental sonic wall that is Kingdom.
Covid complications mean Dev’s only played one previous gig with his backing musicians – a warmup show the night before – but you wouldn’t know. They’re locked so tight even he’s surprised. The Ziltoidian battle cry of By Your Command builds to thunderous climax, and saccharine epic Supercrush! sounds joyously huge.
Headlining theatrics come in the form of a guitar duel with his puppet alter ego Ziltoid, plenty of pyro and some questionable onstage characters for the pomp n’ shuffle of Bad Devil. Ever a man uneasy with the ‘rock star’ mantle, Devin trips over mid-song and needs to be awkwardly helped up by a bloke in a rubber devil suit – so perfectly Devin Townsend. Only he could shift in just three songs from the heart-rendingly crushing Deadhead through the grinding anti-intimacy of Love? to the hyper positive singsong of Spirits Will Collide, replete with choir and an elephant costume so shonky you expect Ace Ventura to squirm out of its rear end.
After the party culminates with the tongue in cheek skeleton dance of Vampira, Bloodstock’s organisers join Dev on stage to be serenaded with a rendition of Happy Birthday for their 20th anniversary. Everyone joins in song as fireworks light the night sky, a fittingly familial conclusion that hammers home just how much we’ve all missed nights like these.
Check out the fan-voted setlist in full below.
Aftermath (Strapping Young Lad song)
By Your Command
March of The Poozers
Supercrush! (Devin Townsend Project song)
Almost Again (SYL song)
Stormbending (DTP song)
Love? (SYL song)
Deadhead (Devin Townsend Band song)
Spirits Will Collide
Detox (SYL song)
Vampira (DTB song)