Devin Townsend Project / Fear Factory – Glasgow O2 ABC

Fear Factory
Fear Factory (Photo credit: Iain Purdie)

[Photo sets on flickr: Fear Factory and Devin Townsend Project]

Happy birthday to me! And after a huge KFC and a phone call after some interviews to say I’d been offered the new job I was after, we headed into Glasgow to see the pioneers of industrial metalFear Factory.

Annoyingly, they weren’t headlining and even if they had – being the ABC – they’d only have had an hour anyway. Despite getting there shortly after 7pm we’d missed the openers (Tesseract), but were in decent time to grab a pint before Burton and Pals came on stage.

You could  tell the sound was better than last week’s Little Angels gig simply from the sound check. The bass was far clearer, there was no distortion and the vocals were sharp. However, this actually worked against Fear Factory as Burton’s voice just isn’t what it used to be.

During the heavier numbers, he was fine. But get onto the supposed harmonies on tracks such as “Resurrection” and he was flatter than a flat thing that had been flattened. At times the vocals just seems to go quiet as well and I’m not sure if that was Burton himself or just he sound.

This aside, the set was crushing with a great selection of tracks. The core of the crowd did warm to them, but it was obvious that the majority of the ABC were just treating them as a distraction until the headliner came on. A shame. Not too many years ago (OK, maybe 10), I’d seen Fear Factory pack out the Barrowlands which has, I would guess, a similar capacity to the ABC. Now they’re playing places like the Garage with a fraction of the audience.

When a band plays a set as good as theirs, with such a distinctive sound it’s a pity to see them not getting that recognition. Mind you, I’m going to say that as I’m a fan. Certainly they looked like they enjoyed it, and there was little time for audience interaction as they jammed the sixty minute set with a sensible number of classics as well as a couple of well received tracks from new album The Industrialist.

With fan favourites such as Linchpin, Edgecrusher, and Replica in there it was always going to get messy and indeed the smallish pit did its best for the duration of the set. Huge credit to the security staff for handling things well (as always) including a very disciplined method for making sure crowdsurfers didn’t get hurt!

Devin Townsend Project
Devin Townsend Project (Photo credit: Iain Purdie)

All too short a time to play for after such a long wait for a tour, but even with Burton’s poor vocals (sorry, Burton) this was a show I was glad I made it to.

The Devin Townsend Experience took to the stage around 9pm and… well, they underwhelmed Gillian and myself. Despite some nice, crunching, heavy intros not one of the songs grabbed us. The stage show seemed to be a set of in-jokes for a bunch of tripped-out fanboys and Townsend himself spent the time between singing lyrics mugging to the crowd like a nutjob or muttering life-affirming epithets.

While the guitars were good, the drumming adequate and the keyboards OK (as far as keyboards go), they all sounded like they were trying to follow a different rhythm and the whole sounded very stilted indeed. Seriously not our kind of thing. I’m all for variety in music and often I’ve been pleasantly surprised by a support or other band I’ve known nothing much about until I saw them live. Not this time.

So we retired to the aptly-named “Polar Bar” (it’s like a bloody ice box in there), finished our drinks, had a chat and wandered off home.

Oh, a quick shout out to Sean who I got talking to on the Lawnmower Deth facebook page. Nice to meet you, fella! Here’s to next time!

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