After getting myself warmed up before the show started (happy hour at the sushi place down the street with two bottles of sake’), The Ocean opened up with my personal favorite song by them, “Firmament.” Hard hitting and brutal, they know how to put on a show. There was plenty of crazy and energetic movement from the whole band along with some crowd surfing and their powerful imagery playing in the background. Videos of war, evolution, and more went along perfectly with the songs they played. I’ve been to 49 different concerts including this one, and this was BY FAR the best show I’ve ever attended.
Due to the length and depth of their songs, they only played five of them, but it was well worth it. After “Firmament,” they played “The Grand Inquisitor II: Roots And Locusts,” the song that really got people going. There were no mosh pits or anything throughout this entire show, but you could definitely feel the immense energy that was pushed forth from the band, which the audience fed off of. Whenever vocalist Loïc Rossetti reached into the audience, he was greeted by hands holding him up and people screaming the lyrics (myself included). He jumped out into the audience a couple times and I felt it really boosted the energy whenever he did that.
The guitarists were also full of energy that captured the audience’s attention. Robin Staps looping his guitar above the crowd and Jonathan Nido just going apeshit on stage brought life into the whole set. The only older song they played was “Ectasian / De Profundis” from the album Precambrian. At the end of their set, they delivered an awesome show ender with the one-two punch of “The Origin of Species” and “The Origin of God.” Few bands can ever match The Ocean live and I was even a little unsure that Devin Townsend could match them. I was wrong to think that.
After The Ocean finished their set, a movie of Devin Townsend’s puppet Ziltoid preceded the band, which included him dancing to the famous Six Flags song and hilarious lines like “poop nuggets,” “Every wrinkle in my penis is an infinite dimension of time, space and wrinkledom,” and “of 100% of you here, 75% are gay, and 25% of you are ugly. I hate your balls!” Presented in excellent boob-o-phonic stereo, Townsend finally came out on the stage and delivered one of the most insane, fun, and attention-demanding shows I’ve ever witnessed.
With the heavy intro of “ZTO,” he followed up with “By Your Command,” then went into his extensive solo discography. I was expecting him to only play songs off of the four Project albums, but he also covered songs from almost all eras of his solo career. With a sound-filled play through of “Truth,” the energy really started to come with the songs “Regulator” and “Life.” During “Earth Day,” he walked out into the welcoming crowd while still playing and they really dug that. His facial expressions, the way he carries himself, and everything else truly sets him apart from any other musician. It’s heavy, energetic, and humorous all at the same time.
When “Bad Devil” started playing, the crowd really started going. This was an excellent example of an artist who can truly express his songs through live performance and top anything studio recorded. He came up on the balcony to dance with the music, where a few people joined him. I’ve never really seen any musician of his status go out into a crowd and really have that connection with the people. Pretty much every song was ten times heavier live, particularly “Heaven Send” and “Juular.” It’s a toss-up between these two songs and “Vampira” as the best song of the night, but in all honesty, every single song was awesome. After playing “Juular” (with the music video of the song playing in the background), the band walked off to take a quick break before playing the encore of “Vampira” and “Deep Peace.” I heavily encourage people of all genres to see these two bands live whenever you get the opportunity. This was by far the best concert I’ve ever attended.
Both Devin Townsend and The Ocean have set the bar higher for how live shows should be done. It was an honor to be there. Stay tuned for interviews from both Devin Townsend and The Ocean.