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RIGHT NOW! MetalSucks Live-Blogs Devin Townsend’s Retinal Circus Extravaganza! Join Us!


RIGHT NOW! MetalSucks Live-Blogs Devin Townsend’s Retinal Circus Extravaganza! Join Us!

“The goal is to take absurd levels of production and make creatively intense, admittedly absurd statements”

That’s what musician/madman Devin Townsend told us in a December interview, just weeks after his four-night stand in the UK performing each of the Devin Townsend Project albums. And finally today, here we are just minutes from the start of his sure-to-be nutso spectacle The Retinal Circus, a three-hour concert and career-spanning retrospective at The Roundhouse in London.

Headed by Townsend, his band, his special guests, and who the fuck knows what else, The Retinal Circus has been sold out for a year and destined to be what Townsend calls his “defining moment.” That’s to say, the head lunatic has finally taken control of the  asylum; now we get to witness what he was raving about in those padded rooms since 1995.

And so we, the metal people, congratulate him, we honor his persistence, we cross our fingers for success in this one-off event’s big production, and we hold onto our nutz/nipz as we follow along from our homes on a very special live stream! It all kicks off in 15 minutes, so everybody test your connection, get comfortable, measure out three hours’ worth of your favorite drugz, and click the shit out of your refresh button here on MetalSucks. Why? Cuz we’re live-blogging the whole thing! Yay!

And now, let’s all revisit the Retinal Circus trailer here:

 7:30 PM (London time) 15 minutes to showtime
For this event, Townsend and crew will play songs from his entire discography. What jamz are u dying to hear? Anything from Vai’s Sex And Religion? Maybe a riff from Front Line Assembly’s Millenium? Oh oh maybe “Black Star Deceiver” from Soilwork’s Natural Born Chaos?

 7:33 PM 12 minutes to showtime
Are u all signed in and seeing the countdown clock? Great! If not, go here and set to HD in the bottom right corner >>

 7:40 PM Five minutes to showtime
And we’re up! Hey look there’s the stage! And look, dudes all over the place! I bet Townsend will stand right there! Y’know by the thing and in front of that thing!

7:43 PM Two minutes to showtime
Hey you’re on the internet, so that means u love to share unsolicited opinions. But here your opinions are solicited — demanded even! So hit that comments section early and often! Include your city and underwear color!

7:44 PM One minute to showtime
What will be his opening jam? Oh man how about “Material” from Physicist? That’d be amazebonerz!!

7:47 PM Not started yet
It’s so awesome that we get to all attend this virtual concert together! Techmology rulz!

7:51 PM 
Like any awesome party, this live-blog may attract a few petty jerks who say rude stuff to everybody. We ignore and wish them well on their boner problems lol.

7:53 PM
How do u like this new shot of the empty stage?

8:00 PM
Question: How do u know when mescaline is working? Maybe I should ask my left knee but it seems angry…

8:01 PM
Nice dissolve!

8:02 PM
Confidential to any babes at the concert in person: Show us your knockerz!

8:04 PM
Attorneys for just phoned with demands that I state that any requests for naked boobz are not administered on behalf of the owners, staff, or copyright-holders for and its holdings.

8:05 PM
Hmm, the live-streaming audience is getting check audio, but the crowd isn’t, right? They’d cheer for these strums and tinks. Is there an issue with venue sound?

8:07 PM
It’s time to play the music! It’s time to light the lights! It’s time to get things started on The Retinal Circus tonight!!!!

On three screens, Steve Vai welcomes us to the “splendiferous” show, introduces us to the life of Harold (played tonight by Jesse Eisenberg’s sweaty cousin), and details the young man’s journey. Hey it must be Devin Townsend music: There’s already a lot of explaining lol.

8:17 PM “Effervescent/ True North” from Epicloud (2012)
Nice top hat, Devin! Awesome voice, Anneke! Nice bod, hot choir lady!

8:22 PM “Lucky Animals” from Epicloud  (2012)
Omg a plane exploded and sprayed this gig with the original Broadway cast of Cats! Oh look that one’s like upside-down, vagine to the sky! AWESOME!

8:24 PM
Look at that smile on Devin. I’m choked up as fk lol. Congrats dude!

Oh wait so Steve Vaidroom is like hosting this whole thing? Get that guy a guitar already goddamn it!

8:26 PM “Planet Of The Apes” from Deconstruction (2011)
Aw shit Dave Young (guitars) cut his hair? Then stapled it to bassist Brian Waddell’s chin? What a show!

8:29 PM
“They all rip off Meshuggah!”

8:32 PM 
“Be gay for the monkeys! … Gayer! … It’s a musical!”

8:35 PM
It’s amazing that Townsend even remembers his parts with all these distractions flying around on stage. I’m just an onlooker and fuck I can’t even remember what I had for breakfast.

8:38 PM “Truth” from Infinity (1998)
The first old jam of the night. First full-audience rage! First disrobing babes on stage! Oh nutz they’re dressed under those gowns. Shit.

8:41 PM

8:42 PM “War” from Infinity (1998)
Oh fuck yes! Fuck to the yes! This jam JAMZ! Anneke CALL ME!

8:43 PM
“Hey guys! U think we don’t know that this is fuckin’ weird? WHO HERE’S READY TO PARTY?”

8:48 PM
Townsend’s tinkering hits and misses, but that take on “War” will go down as the definitive performance of the song. And of any song.

8:50 PM “Planet Smasher” from Ziltoid The Omniscient (2007)
It’s prob safe to say that the onstage population of women outnumbers the rest of the venue.

Ziltoid gets some bad news.

8:57 PM “The Babysong” from Synchestra (2006)
A pair of ladies are twirling above the stage on those curtain-ish ropes. Pink’s lawyers are lunging for their phones.

9:04 PM “Vampolka/Vampira” from Synchestra (2006)
Finally: a little person in a tight green bodysuit and a Ziltoid beak! Now it’s a musical!

9:08 PM
Man this is wild! I haven’t seen so many costume changes since Whitney Houston’s funeral!

9:09 PM “Addicted” from Addicted (2009)
At a show, have u ever looked with pity on the stage security guys? Like, man, he must be like, Wtf is this shit? Well, consider The Retinal Circus the new height of that!

RIGHT NOW! MetalSucks Live-Blogs Devin Townsend’s Retinal Circus Extravaganza! Join Us!

9:15 PM “Color Your World” from Ziltoid The Omniscient (2007)
The most minimalist performance so far tonight: Just the DTP, eight swaying choir people, and a man-sized Ziltoid frenching Townsend. Y’know just your basic metal jam lol.

9:24 PM “The Greys” from Ziltoid The Omniscient (2007)
We home viewers might be jealous of those lucky jerks who get to see this shit in person. But they don’t get to have a pizza delivered mid-song, so it evens out.

9:27 PM 
This song is among Townsend’s most beautiful and cathartic. What else comes close? Stuff on Terria? “Two Weeks” from SYL’s Alien? Wat u think?

See u in 15 minutes!


9:46 PM
Okay whew I had to sprint to the corner store for a lighter. What’s happening what did I miss? What’s a Retinal Circus?

9:49 PM “Hyperdrive” from Ziltoid The Omniscient (2007) and Addicted (2009)
One thing Townsend and I don’t agree on is guitar sounds. He likes that bubbly Takamine acoustic sound, whereas I think acoustic guitars are for pussies :)

RIGHT NOW! MetalSucks Live-Blogs Devin Townsend’s Retinal Circus Extravaganza! Join Us!

9:54 PM “Ih-Ah” from Addicted (2009)
“We are so blessed to have [Anneke van Giersbergen] here tonight!” Wait, Devin says “blessed”? Okay then we disagree about two things.

10:00 PM “Where We Belong” from Epicloud (2012)
I already blubber at this song, but paired with the visual of two dozen people warmly hugging behind Townsend and Van Giersbergen … Gulp I’ll be right back there’s something in my eyes.

10:04 PM VIDEO
Steve Vai’s skull just said the three magic words: Strapping. Young. Lad.

10:06 PM “Detox” from Strapping Young Lad’s City (1997)
Hey there’s SYL guitarist Jed Simon!!! It’s the first SYL performance since forever! GOOSEBUMPS!

RIGHT NOW! MetalSucks Live-Blogs Devin Townsend’s Retinal Circus Extravaganza! Join Us!

10:12 PM
That was awesome! So much so that Townsend will be answering questions about it for the next decade lol.

10:13 PM “Bend It Like Bender” from Addicted (2009)
Jed stays! Anneke slays! I splooge!

10:17 PM “Life” from Ocean Machine: Biomech (1997)
Even from home, we can detect instants of self-consciousness in each tonight’s performers — except Van Giersbergen. Oh wait she’s a European. They don’t feel embarassment.

10:21 PM “Kingdom” from Physicist (2000) and Epicloud (2012)
Can somebody help me with the lyrics to this jam? Is he singing, “Stay with me, lard?”

10:29 PM “Juular” from Deconstruction (2011)
Oh dude I always alter this verse lyric from “Nothing ever bothers u now” to “Nothing fucking bothers u now.” And tonight, so does Townsend. It’s like we share a brain! Aw shit does that mean I’m half-Canadian?

10:34 PM “Love?” from Strapping Young Lad’s Alien (2004)
I’ve looked Townsend right in the eyes and lied about accepting his decision to end Strapping Young Lad. But I’d never lie to u awesome MetalSucks readers. These Jed Simon-powered performances of SYL jamz tonight are awesome and Dev should obey us all by reviving SYL and tour everyday until the end of time even at the expense of his awesome solo stuff there I said it.

RIGHT NOW! MetalSucks Live-Blogs Devin Townsend’s Retinal Circus Extravaganza! Join Us!

10:39 PM “Colonial Boy” from Infinity (1998)
So glad this song is on tonight’s set list. It’s the earliest instance of a DT song that made me think that someday Townsend would create a musical with trees, devils, aliens, choirs, and cats and shit.

10:43 PM “Grace” from Epicloud (2012)
After three hours of singing, Van Giersbergen gets her heaviest workload in this jam. She must be maxing out. I hereby offer her something that will coat and heal her overtaxed throat heh heh if u know what I mean.

10:49 PM
Oh come on, I was talking about these great herbal lozenges I got from Arnel Pineda u fucking perverts. Can’t say anything around here.

10:52 PM
Oh sorry, by “instants of self-consciousness” I mean “flashes of embarrassment at this event’s absurd proportions.” That’s Devin Townsend: Do something daring and bold, but kinda feel like a douche about it lol.

10:56 PM “Little Pig” from Epicloud (2012)
One by one, the band guys enter the stage via prop door, share hugz, and plunk down on a sofa. They are joined by all the performers as the whole audience waves arms. Lovely! I cry!

11:02 PM 
Well, we’ve reached the end. No one can accuse Townsend and crew of aiming low or holding back their show-choir gayness! They went for it — with props, video, lights, puppets, choirs, guests, and confetti out the ass. Really, the meaning of The Retinal Circus isn’t devotion to the escape provided by music or cheering on winners like Townsend and gang; what this and all of Townsend’s messages do is urge engagement and catharsis, and trumpet the power of love. It expresses the tangled internal via external means, the duality of man via dynamics, and the ease with which we can give and receive love and acceptance. I can’t be the only one who watched portions of this webernet stream through teary eyes, nor the only one who secretly, smugly pities those who missed its point while they rush to demonstrate their own dollar-store intelligence. Cuz they think that’s most important: being right. Being heard. Being counted and remembered. And that could be, I guess. But then u only exist in the minds of those who hear, count, and remember u. That’s sad. Just exist in your body, in your space, in your life right now! Go for it!

Thanks for reading!!! See u all on Monday! NOW LET’S REALLY PARTY!!! BONGZ 4 LIFE!!

RIGHT NOW! MetalSucks Live-Blogs Devin Townsend’s Retinal Circus Extravaganza! Join Us!

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