Devin Townsend

Devin Townsend (9:45 PM)

The Ocean (8:30 PM)

Mon, October 24, 2011

8:00 pm

$20.00

This event is all ages

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Devin Townsend - (Set time: 9:45 PM)
Devin Townsend
Devin Townsend first came into the public attention in 1993, when at the age of 19 he was picked by Steve Vai to be the Vocalist on his Sex and Religion album and the accompanying world tour. Previous to this Devin was playing the Vancouver metal scene with his band Noisescapes. Noisescapes recorded a demo, which was sent out to several labels including Relativity Records, the label on which Steve Vai was signed. Devin thought that a way to make this demo grab peoples’ attention was to mail it wrapped in a pair of his old underwear. This tactic worked, because a copy wound up with Steve Vai, who was impressed with Devin’s vocal abilities and decided to include him in his latest project.

Shortly after he finished touring with Vai in 1994 Devin landed a gig touring with The Wildhearts, beginning a long relationship with The Wildhearts’ singer Ginger. Around this time Devin also contributed guitar parts to the Front Line Assembly records Millenium and Hard Wired.

Following this, in 1995, Devin began writing and recording his own music under the name of Strapping Young Lad. Strapping Young Lad began as a solo project, with Devin performing vocals and playing most of the instruments on Heavy as a Really Heavy Thing.

The same year (1995), Devin released a pop punk parody album under the name of Punky Brüster called Cooked on Phonics. This album was created with the help of fellow members of the Vancouver metal scene, and people who helped record the Heavy as a Really Heavy Thing album.

In 1997, while continuing with his Strapping Young Lad project, Devin released an album called Biomech, under the moniker of Ocean Machine. This release has caused much confusion over the years, because shortly after its initial release, Devin’s label HeavyDevy Records requested that the name of the project be changed to Ocean Machine: Biomech, and the artist be changed to Devin Townsend. Many fans however, still refer to the artist as being Ocean Machine. Interestingly, the Australian distributor refused to change the CD covers, and the album is still released in Australia as Biomech by Ocean Machine.

Over the years Devin has become known for creating a completely new studio and touring band for each solo release. This may be partially explained by the fact that while the solo releases are thematically similar each release usually has a very different sound to that of their predecessor. Devin has stated that each album has a different sound because he writes from his experiences of the past year, and what he is feeling at the time.

In a world of increasing conformity and musical banality, Devin Townsend is among the few real personalities who have character, charisma and surprising innovative creativity. As a solo artist and producer, a member of the (by now disbanded) Strapping Young Lad, with whom he played Ozzfest and the main stage at the Download festival, and vocalist on Steve Vai’s album, Sex And Religion, – Townsend has always inspired fans and critics alike. The latest chapter of his extremely diverse career is entitled Ki and will be out in May/June 2009. “Ki is the first in a series of four albums under the moniker ‘Devin Townsend Project’. Each album is essentially a different band or collection of session musicians playing my music,” Townsend explains. “They were chosen based on what the theme of the album is and the vibe that the album is trying to project. The album Ki is very specific in this quartet of albums in that it controls its anger throughout, barring one song – ‘Heaven Send’ – and really is an exercise in having little to prove.”

The most renowned project member on Ki is drummer Duris Maxwell (62), who has played with many acts, such as Heart, Jefferson Airplane, The Powder Blues, Tommy Chong and The Temptations. Maxwell even jammed with Hendrix. “I am very conscious of drummers and the energy they bring to the bands,” Townsend says. “I went to a blues club way up in the North of Canada and watched Duris. He has the vibe I wanted for the drums here: nothing to prove, but strong and a bit angry. Duris is an older cat but he’s heavy.” He is supported by bassist Jean Savoie. “Jean plays in a Beatles cover band and spent years playing the cruise ships all over the world. Name a style and he can jam it for hours. His technique is accomplished, and the fact that he had never played heavy music made him and Duris perfect for the project.” Dave Young is the keyboardist, and Townsend has been working with him for years: “He’s the most schooled musician out of all of us and can play any instrument. Keyboard players typically annoy the hell out of me, but Dave is more of an ambient musician and fills the spaces with fitting but unusual note choices simply by watching where I am on my fretboard.“

After an extremely difficult phase (“I quit many bad habits in my life after SYL ended. I felt depressed, angry and unhealthy and was not satisfied with living that way for the rest of my life. I quit all drugs, alcohol and a host of other addictions that were controlling me and my world”), Ki now sees him embark on an unmistakably new path. Although not overly aggressive, the album oozes a haunting intensity, a vitality which hides below a seemingly smooth surface. “Ki is a subtle, severe album, a challenge in some ways. The point to the music is that the whisper is louder than the roar in many ways. Ki is – on the surface – quiet and unassuming. Whenever it begins to lose its temper, it stops and doesn’t let go. It is avoiding that temptation, as that sort of anger is really gratifying but ultimately just leaves me unhappy.“

In perfect unison with this thoroughly unusual, gripping and intelligent album, Townsend presents a three-dimensional cover artwork. As the music on Ki, the graphic design is also consciously multilayered. Townsend: “I live in the North of Canada and I believe that the native cultures of the world have it really down in terms of spirituality. Nature is ‘God’, in all its subtlety and terror. And we are all a part of it, whether or not we want to be. The mask on the cover is based on native North American and Chinese paintings. It is not authentic and is just meant to be two faces in one.”

And what will the future bring? “When all four records in the DTP series are done and the ultimate box set is released at the end (eight records plus a DVD), I will play selected shows throughout the world. I will not climb into a van and play clubs in the middle of nowhere, though, I am going to assemble a sober team of incredible musicians to play ALL the records, perfectly, to many people. You will see me soon, and get ready for the next three records in the series; Ki is a subtle introduction to a sprawling theme. Please enjoy, it’s good to be back.”
The Ocean - (Set time: 8:30 PM)
The Ocean
5 Silhouettes, their backlit bodies moving frenetically in front of the monstrous LED lighting rigs, flashing synchronized to every little change in the music: watching THE OCEAN perform live is an experience. The videos, the lighting and more than anything, the music - orchestral, dense and epic - all contribute to that certain atmosphere that sets THE OCEAN apart from most of their peers in the realm of modern day's heavy music. The lynch-esque play with darkness and dynamics make it easy for the listener to get lost in the dismal oceanic spheres.

The band originated in 2001, when mainman Robin Staps leased the basement of a former aluminum factory from World War II in the heart of Berlin-Kreuzberg. After a few weeks of daily construction work, "Oceanland" was born – a large underground complex of recording studio and sleeping rooms, where many members of THE OCEAN would spend the bigger part of the upcoming few years of their lives. The band's live show was conceptualized and improved here, and over the years, a collective of musicians from classical as well as rock music backgrounds formed around Staps. Four albums were recorded at Oceanland, before the band was evicted from the place in 2008.

It's pointless to try to recall every past member of The Ocean. There must have been about 30-40 in total. Nobody remembers all of them. Some may have died or sunk into alcoholism, others may still be alive but have just mysteriously disappeared at some point, even during tours...

It's not hard to see why when you try to imagine the conditions of the band's first tours. I remember attending their show at an anarchist's trailer park in Osnabrück, Germany, on a grim February night in 2002. One of them crushed his ankle when his leg got stuck between 2 planks of the pallet-stage in the non-heated tent. The 12 punks in the audience didn't give a shit. After the show, one of them was so drunk that he fell asleep only a few inches next to the campfire outside and almost burnt to death. I remember a show in Torun, Poland, with an audience attendance of two people, one of them being the bar owner... I remember waking up in a 20m2-room with 15 other people, next to a drunk ex-band member who had pissed all over himself, and myself, while we had both been asleep...

Despite all these initial hardships and the ever-changing lineup, the ocean collective have released 6 critically acclaimed studio albums over the course of the past 6 years. Praise of their 80 minutes concept-opus "Precambrian" (2007) spread like wildfire in the community:

"Epic in scope and flawless in execution, 'Precambrian' reinforces The Ocean as one of the most exciting names in modern heavy music. Behold mind-blowing metal on a wagnerian scale", ROCK SOUND (UK) cheered. "Ambitious and epic, dense and orchestral, the latest album from Germany's premier thinking man's metal collective The Ocean features a dizzying array of musical and vocal styles, from Mastodonian prog jags and Fear Factory jackhammer blasts to ethereal electronics and florid classical instrumentations", AMP (USA) added, and DECIBEL (USA) found the album to be "…engrossing to the point where words don't necessarily matter. The Ocean do for earth science class what Mastodon did for Melville: make learning brutal".

After more than 500 shows all over the world, supporting bands like OPETH, ANATHEMA, THE DILLINGER ESCAPE PLAN, THE BLACK DAHLIA MURDER, CULT OF LUNA and ISIS and successful headlining tours in Europe and the US (supported by KYLESA), the addition of vocalist Loïc Rossetti marks the final step in a recent development within the band: after 8 years of existence, THE OCEAN has transformed from a collective into a band. "The people I am working with now are the people I have always been looking for, and naturally, everyone else is much more involved than ever before", comments Staps. Rossetti replaces Nico Webers, who joined War From A Harlot's Mouth, and Mike Pilat, who left the band because he did not want to let touring be an integral part of his life anymore. However, the collective is not dead. As a matter of fact, 2009 album "Heliocentric" featured the largest number of additional musicians to date, mainly classical players. With 4 Swiss band members, THE OCEAN has found a new home in the highest city of Europe, La-Chaux-de-Fonds - although Staps still lives in Berlin.

The Ocean released their opus magnum in 2010 with the separately-released double-album "Heliocentric" (April 2010) and "Anthropocentric" (November 2010). This enormous conceptual effort took almost 2 years to be completed. From a lyrical and artistic point of view, the albums represent a fundamental and philosophical critique of Christianity. Both albums scored rave reviews all over the world, including "album of the month" in Metal Hammer Germany, Italy and Greece and a cover feature on the December- issue of Metal Hammer UK / Subterranea. AMG Magazine (US) stated that "This is the most forward-thinking statement by the Ocean yet, and stands as the most seamlessly integrated and consistent recording they've issued to date", and Rock Sound (UK) found the album to be "Luxurious, tectonic, ingenious, calculated, charismatic, enterprising, dextrous, inventive, unrestrained, fascinating and poignant. If all this doesn't convince you to at least check them out, then seriously, fuck off."
Venue Information:
Troubadour
9081 Santa Monica Blvd
Los Angeles, CA, 90069
http://www.troubadour.com/

All lineups and times subject to change