Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Devin Townsend with Grand Master - The Pyramid Cabaret Dec. 4th, 2011

Ah, the Pyramid! Not a bad venue at all, but as I mentioned earlier, the last time I set foot in the Pyramid was for Anvil. It was quite the appropriate auditorium, so to speak. The stage isn't huge, it's rather intimate, but the entire bar space itself is ginormous. The qualm I might have, is the lack of anything to do but drink and sit around, because there are no pool tables, but there are video slot machines. In the summer, the patio isn't bad to hang out on, and I only bring up these features because a really, really displeasing band played between the stellar Grand Master and Devin Townsend. If there was at least pool to engage in, we may have been able to ignore it, but instead, my comrades and I resorted to going outside into the cold to avoid the awful "music" we heard. The female vocalist can be described as screechy or "chipmunk sounding" and I can't even remember the band's name, which is likely for the best. But seriously, they were booed right off stage after their set, which I may have seen only happen to a band once before.

Some mysterious person over the P.A. system announced the coming of Grand Master, and also demanded we make some noise so that Devin could hear us from the bus. As I looked upon the drum set, there was a peculiar set of small toms and then some chimes beside it. I knew this was going to be a dynamic percussionist and I grew excited for this band I had heard about from Todd, who is friends with Grand Master.
Mr. Schaefer

The three-piece appeared, and introduced themselves, and as I looked at their set-list, they were only going to be playing four songs! The vocalist/bassist Alec Schaefer had a lot of control for someone with such an outgoing but clever personality and the progressive style of metal they played really flowed through him. The technical aspect of their music was progressive power metal, and sometimes reminded me of Evil Survives, but without the pipes of Axe n' Smash. I can't get over how impressive Matt Kathler is on drums, and how the whole band was camp and playful on stage while playing this amazing progressive metal. The four songs they played felt like they lasted an entire set time of fourty-five minutes to an hour.  I could have listened and watched them for another two hours and I very quickly yelled at them that they were AWESOME. Their next album is set to be released in April, which is very exciting!

After Grand Master's set, I went right to their merch table to check for their goodies. White shirts and black shirts, but no women's shirts, as well as some CD's and even a promo poster that was about 7x9. I received one of these prints for free and a demo CD that isn't of the best quality, but it's free! I got them to sign the print and then draw an undesirable squiggle on their faces such as unibrows and moustaches. I really do appreciate their good humour and humility, despite their appendages literally overflowing with skill.

As I mentioned before, the lack of a barrier and the smaller stage size makes this a more intimate concert, and so taking pictures of this band was particularly easy. The crowd was even docile enough so that I could freely walk from any side to get shots. The lighting was excellent for this show as well, so no smokey or distortioned visual problems came into effect. Devin Townsend was an easy target for pictures because he worked the stage so evenly, and was on the edge even accepting head pats and puppets. Yes, they were selling Ziltoid puppets at the merch, as well as christmas ornaments and unusual t-shirts with Devin riding a mirthy bicycle.

Between the sets of the atrocious band who shall not be named and Devy's band of the bearded and bald, there was a lovely slideshow of photoshopped pictures, with Devin Townsend's glorious mug gracing such pictures as the Mona Lisa.

Many, many funny pictures later, Devy finally appeared to the left of the stage and hailed over the recordings that introduced him. Devin seemed particularly happy that night, and it really showed with his spread out approach to the crowd, which very quickly huddled the stage when he appeared. Yes, it seemed Devin Townsend was the warm little center of the universe, and he didn't lap it up- he gulped it down.

His set was slightly different than the one he played in July and he started with Truth instead of ZTO. The antics are never the same with Devy, and the puppets were raised in droves- praising the great bald composer who graces our time. He even swore at my drummer's puppet, then quickly apologized and kissed it. The encore was three songs long, with the possible fourth- Bad Devil, but the crowd wasn't quite rowdy enough to earn the last song, I suppose. I ended up shaking his hand and telling him my brains were kind of on the floor because he blew my mind. I took a picture for a fellow fan, so hopefully someday he finds my page and sees his mug on the internet, for all to see! Devin also occasionally wore a fan's Ziltoid cap, which can be seen in my Devin Townsend and Grand Master album here--->

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