On what may be the coldest night ever experienced in a jammed pack Worcester Palladium, the Abstract Reality Tour was able to heat up Massachusetts on an early December night. From the moment opening band, Monuments, hit the stage until security was trying to clear the floor after The Devin Townsend Project, the energy in the venue did not dwindle. The Abstract Reality Tour consisted of Monuments, Animals As Leaders, and The Devin Townsend Project. Some might say that three bands was not enough for this tour, but I beg to differ. Personally, I have seen both Animals As Leaders and HeavyDevy’s solo band a multitude of times but I always hope for longer set lists and this was a perfect set up for that. To start the night off, however, I was able to see a band I had never seen or even listened to before.
Monuments was a band I had always heard great things about (especially after their recent tour with Scale the Summit) but never really gave the time and attention to them. Well, I am proud to say that I was happily surprised. The best way I could explain the sound of Monuments to someone who does not know them, think of an early djent band such as Tesseract or Textures, but with vocals that were very similar to that of Lajon Witherspoon of Sevendust fame. Monuments did a great job with the time they had in trying to push their newest release that came out this year, entitled The Amanuensis (Century Media). The Worcester crowd got a total of six songs in this short opener slot where four were from the new album and two from the first release, Gnosis. There was one track, which unfortunately the title has escaped my mind, where lead singer, Chris Barretto, actually picked up a saxophone and played a very melodic, but appropriate, intro and then picks it back up halfway through for a solo that was truly ground shaking in the metal world.
Up next were co-headliners, arguably one of the biggest instrumental heavy bands out there today, Animals As Leaders. Lead by virtuoso guitarist, Tosin Abasi, the progressive threesome played a slew of songs off all 3 albums. Obviously with a new release out this year (The Joy of Motion (Sumerian) I would expect a heavy list of newer tracks. AAL actually did a fantastic job of playing a good mix of new versus old with six off the new album and seven off of previous releases (five off the Self-Titled, two off Weightless). Oh and for the few concerned fans out there, yes, they closed with CAFO again. Complete with a mind bending video/light show in the background, I tend to lose track of where band members are and just lose myself in the visuals in front of me and the music all around. Each and every time I am truly happy with this band and their live performance. The only burning question in the back of my mind over this band: How in the Hell do these kids mosh to this?
Finally it was time for the main event. The man behind DTP and everyone’s favorite coffee drinking alien, Ziltoid, was hitting the Palladium stage, ready for another comedic and awkward live performance. Again, coming into this show with a brand new double disk release (one for Ziltoid, one for DTP) most expected a list with mostly new tracks. Just like their co-headliners in Animals As Leader, The Devin Townsend Project did a great job mixing between old and new with exactly six old versus six new. To juggle up the set even more, the Worcester fans were treated to some old classics such as the opener, ‘Regulator’, ‘Bad Devil’, and ‘War’. New tracks were also a fair split, four from Dark Matters which is the Ziltoid disk and three from Sky Blue, the DTP disk. March of the Poozers, Z2, and Ziltoid Goes Home were some of the tracks from the Ziltoid disk while ‘Rejoice’ and ‘Midnight Sun’ were a couple off of the DTP release. For the bigger fans of Ziltoid than that of the DTP music, you can be happy knowing that most of the corny dialogue and narrator as found on the recording were used as samples throughout the ZIltoid songs. Personally I loved watching the poozer walkers march on the screens during, you guessed it, ‘March of the Poozers’. Also, ‘Ziltoid Goes Home’ may be one of the most epic songs I have ever seen Devin play live. Of course I am always open to a possible live performance of ‘Deadhead’… wink wink Devin. One of the best moments, even if it was the end of the night, was where Devin did not want to leave the stage and go outside into the cold so after playing Grace, he made the crowd pretend they left the stage, let us chant for another song for a minute or so, then Devin pretended to make his way back to the stage. At this point, Devin introduced the encore/last song of the night which was the rewritten version of ‘Kingdom’ as found on Epicloud which may be one of the greatest songs he’s written, even if it took twice to get it to where he wanted it.
Overall, another great show at the Worcester Palladium. Three great progressive bands with very different sounds and messages played to their fans for what was a very energetic night. It is safe to say that most shows a fan could attend would end up being described as “brutal” or maybe even a simple “great.”
Devin Townsend Project
Animals As Leaders
WORDS BY TIM LEDIN
PHOTOS BY HILLARIE JASON