Live Gig Review and Photos by: Zenae Zukowski
Many took part in an evening of Progressive Metal intoxication on Friday, September 16th at the Playstation Theater in New York City to see the headlining collision of Between the Buried and Me and The Devin Townsend Project with Fallujah as support. This collision is referred to the Transcending the Coma Tour, as it kicked off on September 10 in Charleston, South Carolina and will run its course through the middle of October. As The Devin Townsend Project promotes the latest creation of ‘Transcendence,’ Between the Buried and Me had a different way of promotion as they were there to play 2015’s ‘Coma Ecliptic’ in its entirety.
The San Francisco Atmospheric Metal act Fallujah surprised the crowd when they confidently dominated the set. Their performance has progressed over the years, where their craft is tightening up as well which was seen in their third studio album ‘Dreamless’ under Nuclear Blast. The lights were set with a darkened blue and red tone. However, that did not stop them from headbanging across the stage as fans continued to engage. The set kicked off with “Sapphire” from 2014’s ‘The Flesh Prevails,” and between their vital energy, the sound, and performance, I cannot wait to see Fallujah perform again. Songs continued to move where they played a decent amount such as “Amber Gaze,” “Scar Queen,” “Alone With You,” “Allure,” “Abandon,” “Wind for Wings,” and closed with “The Void Alone.” Check out their new album ‘Dreamless’ if you haven’t yet, their Atmospheric direction is something new and innovative to the Metal scene.
As fans joined in for a short break to grab a drink at the bar and to check out the merchandise, it was time for the North Carolina Progressive Metallers Between the Buried and Me. Now I had seen them in December last year when they opened up for Enslaved, and this evening there seemed to be a different energy in their performance. There was something about witnessing ‘Coma Ecliptic’ at a full length, where it makes me wonder if this could be a new trend for more bands. I am sure long-time fans would be slightly disappointed not to listen to any of the earlier works, but at the same time, it is intriguing. It felt as though you were watching a film, as the story progressed from “Node” to “The Coma Machine” and “Dim Ignition.” The lights were either spot on magnificent as it switched to being in complete darkness. Tommy Rogers either stayed in the spotlight or moved away from the light to be closer to the crowd, as there was a bit of headbanging as well. The way Dan Briggs performed between the Bass and the Keyboard on the platform continued to be a bit captivating as his face moved from the dark shadows and into a spotlight. They are a unique act to see live as everyone went into a personal music coma as songs continued such as “Famine Wolf,” “King Redeem/Queen Serene,” “Turn on the Darkness,” “The Ectopic Stroll,” “Rapid Calm,” “Memory Palace,” “Option Oblivion” and concluding with “Life in Velvet.” Now, if you have not seen them live or heard of ‘Coma Ecliptic,’ well now is your chance since they give a unique and captivating spin on Progressive Metal.
After a lengthy break, where those who didn’t want to even have a drink at all decided to buy a few brews to pass time it was finally time for The Devin Townsend Project to take the stage. The lighting switched between dark red, to dark blue, to remaining in darkness as these bright lights continuously moved along with the music. Townsend opened up with the older tune of “Night” from 1997’s ‘Ocean Machine: Biomech’ and moved towards “By Your Command” from 2007’s ‘Ziltoid the Omniscient’ and finally the new tune “Failure” from the new ‘Transcendence.’ As the set warmed up, so did the crowd where there were quite a few interesting mosh pits as it seemed that a few were brand new to a Metal show. It was quite funny; I saw this one person that shook his booty in the pit as though it was some dance floor. How he managed not to spill his drink, is beyond me. As the fans grew more aggressive, so did the tunes with “Rejoice,” “Hyperdrive” and another new tune “Stormbending.”
Townsend’s facial expressions and momentum seemed to be invincible as the set continued with “Where We Belong,” followed by the song that the vocals “fucked him in the ass” with “Ziltoid Goes Home.” Townsend described the next tune as an inspirational love song to the 80s with “metal tension to farting testicles” as he called it, “a farting Lullaby” and went into “March of the Poozers” followed by “Kingdom.” As the set was nearing a close, Townsend continued the romance with “Ih-Ah!” from 2009’s ‘Addicted.’ He announced this song by expressing, “wanting a campfire singalong” as he dedicated the track to a couple who got married, as he wanted everyone’s lighters out in celebration to this romantic piece and congratulating the couple in the audience. As the song continued, Townsend geared away from the couple and moved towards everyone else in the room as he flat out stated, “Hope all have a great life” and he finished the tune. At this point, it was evident that an encore would not exist as Townsend went into the final song of the night. Townsend asked the audience if anyone had work tomorrow as he joked stating that The Devin Townsend Project is “overpaid and underworked” and introduced the band to the audience. After the introduction they moved to the final tune “Higher” and the fans went into another strange and unbalanced mosh pit. Many stayed after the end of the performance in hopes to hear an encore. However, the house lights went on, and that was that.
You will feel movement in the Transcending the Coma Tour as this particular lineup is an interesting mix to see. I think they complement each other in one way or another. If you have a chance, you should try to check this one out.