Thunderous, absolutely thunderous
It was strange for the nuclear explosive music of Strapping Young Lad to go on the bill before Soilwork, but I guess it made sense because bass player Byron Stroud also plays for headliners Fear Factory (lucky bugger). A distorted keyboard intro unveiled a Devin Townsend in maniac mode. Launching straight into Imperial and then Skeksis from the new album, Alien, the crowd turned into a moshing frenzy. It was obvious from the start that most of the crowd had come to see 'The Lad' as the House of Blues was jam packed by the time they kicked into 'All hail the new flesh'. Devin stalked the stage giving his evil devil stare to anyone who looked his way. He has so much stage presence it is difficult to pay attention to any of the other members. His crude witty mid song banter was a breath of fresh air, choosing to tell the crowd to "fuck off you losers, I'm going to fuck your girlfriend in the ass", rather than telling them to rock out. 'It's all irony' he shouts but no one cared, we were all under his insane spell.
Guitarist Jed Simon and Bass player Byron Stroud synchronised their head-banging and made the best of their 'bit' parts. It was these little extra details that elevated them above everyone else on the bill, and also elevates themselves above 95% of all other bands around today. 'Love' and 'Zen' from the latest album sounded Teutonic and caused an even bigger mosh pit to form, almost filling the downstairs area. The band ended on 'In the rainy season' for what was a criminally short set. Any band that can omit such great atomic anthems as 'Detox', 'S.Y.L' and 'Oh my fucking god', and still provide the greatest of shows are truly something special. The guy next to me summed the performance perfectly, 'Right, that's it...' he said with a new S.Y.L t-shirt in hand and a beaming smile on his face, 'I can go home now.'