Out of all of the strange things that could be announced, Devin Townsend revealing that he’s making an acoustic appearance in Exeter’s Cavern venue in the run-up to his set at Bloodstock is certainly up there with a strange man turning bacon into chocolate and a pregnant man. But it is happening.
However, there is a murmur that he’s playing a short lunchtime session in Newton Abbot’s Phoenix Sounds record store about 20 miles outside of the city beforehand and well, Soundshock has to go.
Upon arrival Devin is greeting a handful of fans and offering to sign some goodies before jovially warming into the set with the gentle and engaging ‘Kawaii’. The rest of this personal set is largely made up of requests from the in-store revellers including ‘Let It Roll’ and a comedic rendition of ‘Stagnant’.
And just as people thought they couldn’t be any more content the evening sets in and the sold-out venue is warmed up. Devin greets his loyal subjects with a smile and a joke before opening with the sentimental ebb of ‘Ih-Ah’.
The evening continues with plenty of chuckles, amusing anecdotes and more brilliantly delivered numbers from the catalogue including ‘Deadhead’, ‘Hide Nowhere’ and ‘Christeen’ with everyone belting their lungs out to the roof. The surprise of tonight appears as Devy translates ‘Juular’ from his recent ‘Deconstruction’ album to staggering effect.
This was a moment any Townsend nut will always remember and another example that Dev doesn’t always bend over to the constraints of being a popular muso who now sells out shows months in advance and a shit load of merch to boot; he still spares a thought for the grassroots approach that got him here in the first place.
Reviewed by Lee MacBride
"Here's some brilliant fan footage taken from the show..."
Big thanks to Phoenix Sound, one of the best record stores in the South West!