CONCERT REVIEW: Children of Bodom/Devin Townsend Project/Septic Flesh/Obscura

With the bass guitar being so integral to Obscura’s sound, a guest bassist has big shoes to fill. Yet he pulled it off last night. Unfortunately, the sound guy made sure we heard it. Even though every instrument could be heard clearly, the bass guitar was too high in the mix. The band performed well, showing no signs of fatigue after so many weeks on tour. They certainly won over the crowd; in fact, the audience response was so good at the end of their set vocalist/guitarist Steffen Kummerer said the next time they come through they will headline.

Septic Flesh came next. This is the third time I’ve seen them play at the Palladium. The last time was upstairs to a very small crowd, yet the group played with the same intensity and power as they did last night. The mix sounded great. Even the recorded orchestrations mixed in with the live instruments without becoming intrusive. As I have said before, the cavernous sound in the downstairs venue at the Palladium works for some bands. Septic Flesh is definitely one of those bands.

Another one of those bands came on next. Devin Townsend Project put out one of the biggest sounding albums of the year so far, and probably one of the best. It only seemed fitting that they would focus on that album. Live, he proves to be a consummate showman, playing to the crowd while performing some of the most complex guitar riffs. They used recording orchestrations in the background as well, with some of the most pounding bass of the night. As this was the last day of the tour for Devin Townsend Project (as well as Septic Flesh), they fell victim to one prank: somebody (I believe one of Children of Bodom’s stagehands) came out dressed in the same way as Townsend, pretending to play guitar with the band.

I lost count now of how many times I’ve seen Children of Bodom. I think this is the fifth. There were no surprises this time. The band plays as well as they always have, playing to the crowd as well as some level of rock star posing from Alexi Laiho, paired with masterful guitar shredding. I have one complaints: despite being the headliner, their sound was the worst of the night. With earplugs in, the mix was terrible; with earplugs out, the mix was better but the guitar distortion was far too abrasive. They put on quite a light show as usual, and most of the crowd showed no signs of fatigue in the mosh pits from the other bands of the night. As for their prank, Townsend came out on stage during the last song of the encore to play second keyboards–and to put this big, white floppy hat on different COB members’ heads.

Some sound issues plagued Obscura and COB, but for the most part the evening went well. It was nice to see that for a Tuesday show the place was packed, with large, crazy mosh pits without hardcore flailing of the arms and legs. Overall, I give the show horns up.

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