Monday, June 27, 2011

Devin Townsend/Other Bands

Children of Bodom/Devin Townsend Project/Obscura/Septic Flesh
June 24th, 2011
House of Blues, Hollywood

So, I went to my first metal show of the year this past Friday. Hard to believe that it took so long but it's not as if the months between weren't filled with the goods. I actually see this gap as a testament to how my tastes have broadened and evolved. I also see it as me taking advantage of what's free. After all, what's not to love about that?

The last time I was at the House of Blues was to see Tarja way back in 2009 I believe. I can't say I missed the venue. It's solid but not anything special enough for me to consider it a favorite place to see a show. But the venue has the potential to take second fiddle as long as the bands deliver. Septic Flesh turned out to be the first of the opening acts, which I was rather upset by. Along with Devin Townsend, they were one of my reasons I wanted to come to this event to begin with. Not only did this mean that their set would be uber short, but it also meant that I'd have to get there early. P.S. This didn't happen. By the time I got through the long line (which they decided to take in as slowly as possible), Septic Flesh had already burned through their songs and I managed to catch only their last two. I saw them live once before and they converted me on the spot. Since then they've remained one of the few death metal bands I care about. Needless to say, a major disappointment having to miss them.

Next up was Obscura. I have a mild interest in them and was curious to see how they'd sound in a live setting. Their technical brand of death metal translated quite well and was executed pitch perfect from what I could tell. It's not the type of metal that I can enjoy all the time, but their performance did reassure my enthusiasm for them.

My excitement was peaked with getting to see Devin Townsend and his cronies (aka Devin Townsend Project). Although the overall set could not be matched by his headlining show last year at The Key Club, Devin made the most of his time and proved to me once more that he's one of the best live performers/front men around. His off-beat humor, his commanding stage presence, and of course his pummeling brand of metal all make up his arsenal of cool. He began the set by stating that "we are the oddballs of the night". That really couldn't have been more complimentary. He was absolutely the highlight of the evening. His vocals really are as amazing live as they are on record, a feat that is always admired by yours truly. I really don't have much to add that isn't more layers of praise. My respect and appreciation of Devin Townsend and his music is in the utmost tier of greatness, and I can honestly say that I'll go to every venue he decides to play in southern California. I suggest you do the same.

The headliners, Children of Bodom, would have been had me giddy with glee about five years ago. They remained a favorite of mine for many years and were partly responsible for my path into the realm of metal. But through a combination of wavering taste and the steady decline of the quality in their music, I stepped off their train. Perhaps it's their somewhat immature attitude too (with Alexi Laiho feeling the need to say "fuck" every five words). He also comes off as a bit too haughty for me. He's a good guitarist but not great. A little modesty never hurt anyone. But for all of this fallout business, I still watched a good chunk of their set. It was quite nostalgic to hear some of their older material played. Even the song "Children of Bodom" from Hatebreeder was in their set. But again, due to the passage of time, my enjoyment of the band is simply not there. They are not bad live, at all, just not my forte.

As an aside, I would like to say that Children of Bodom has some of the most annoying fans I've ever been around. It didn't help that there were quite a lot of 15-17 year old fans in attendance. I heard way too many "OMG I'm horny" shouts than I'd ever wish to hear in one night. This happened whenever the House of Blues would advertise upcoming shows on a big screen between bands. A lot of "I lost my boner" comments too. I can't help but long for 18+ shows in the future.

Also, a complaint about the House of Blues: There's absolutely no signal inside. This means that calling, texting, updating Facebook, etc., is out of the question. This bothers me because I like to post pictures I take during the actual show. Maybe it is a minor complaint but what if you need to get a hold of the person(s) you're with? Perhaps you lose them in the crowd? What then, House of Blues, hm? I digress.

Until next time...

Townsend: "Are you ready, hippies?"

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