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Devin Townsend / Versechorusverse

Canada’s cosmic conjurer strips down

Devin Townsend is a master of the unpredictable.

One minute he’s hijacking the Royal Albert Hall for a night of sensory decadence, the next he’s bumbling onto an austere stage in a parish church with nothing more than an acoustic guitar and a few pedals. VERSECHORUSVERSE [6], aka the unassuming Tony Wright formerly of And So I Watch You From Afar, serenades the arrivals searching for a pew. You have to admire his enthusiasm, but his busking songs for the new generation are really just killing time.

A holy experience

A holy experience (Image credit: Will Ireland)

There’s a standing ovation when DEVIN TOWNSEND [8] appears. It’s not the first time he’s played ecclesiastical venues but the simplicity of his offering tonight is remarkably stripped down. On Midnight Sun the dreamy elements buoyed by the natural amplification of the surroundings are perfect, but tonight the most memorable moments come not from his luscious grasp of atmosphere but the curveballs.

Firstly, a creepy yet hilarious rendition of his old band’s anthem Love? And secondly, his startlingly honest stream of consciousness that oscillates between sharp-witted self-awareness and the philosophies of a tortured soul that makes a song like Deadhead devastatingly emotive in its most simplistic form.