O2 ABC Glasgow, 14/12/12

The Epic Industrialist tour featuring Fear factory and Devin Townsend Project as co-headliners has been long in the making. Devin Townsend has previously cited Fear Factory as one of his main influences, so needless to say I am looking forward to this. I arrive at seven; in time to catch the last of the support act Tesseract, as well as being able to enjoy a pint before the main event begins.

The stage and the audience (easily over a thousand strong) are immediately plunged into darkness. Fear Factory, not wasting any time on taking the stage, hit us hard with ‘Industrialist’; a song from their latest album that quickly brings the crowd to temperature. Before you know it a circle pit has formed and streams of bodies are going over the barriers at an incredible rate, before running back in to the churning audience. The diverse track list works both for and against the band, satisfying fans both new and old. It is immediately apparent, however, that something is off. Poor sound set up and equipment malfunction don’t help, but the real problem is lead vocalist Burton Bell; struggling to alternate between growling and hitting those higher notes in melodic sections brings the act down somewhat, especially during ‘Linchpin’. The new drummer and bassist are fantastic, bringing a lot of energy to the performance which is best demonstrated in ‘Edge-Crusher’; easily the highlight of the set. The band make great use of stage space, particularly guitarist Dino Cazares, which means that overall this is a decent performance, concluding with mega-hit ‘Replica’ from their Demanufacture album.

After a surprisingly comprehensive sound-check, the demented Canadian genius and the rest of Devin Townsend Project take to the stage. From the first note the sound quality is far superior to Fear Factory’s, and the band really bring a delectation with them that has been lacking from the Fear Factory set.

Heavy intros and rattling growls contrast with melodic singing, and the wall of sound that is Devin Townsend quickly grabs the attention of everyone in attendance. With a well thought out set list, fantastic audience participation, and even better visualisations, they really raise the bar in terms of live performance. The band play an impressively diverse array of songs from various albums, but given the size of their back catalogue (and as Devin himself acknowledges), it’s going to be hard to please everyone in a one hour set. Much to the audience’s delight, however, Ziltoid the Omniscient makes an appearance, both in a visualisation and as a puppet on the hand of a very keen fan.

The hour is over all too quickly, although Devin does somehow manage to get away with exceeding the curfew
by about 10 minutes, and ‘Liberation’ concludes a fantastic concert. I leave extremely satisfied, with an ear to ear
grin on my face and a DTP signed Drum-skin tucked under my arm.

[Saxon Strausz]

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