Casualties of cool – Union chapel, London – 4th September 2014

messengerTonight’s gig at the Union Chapel was the second ever show for Devin Townsend’s Casualties of Cool project, and one of only two UK dates.  They couldn’t have chosen a better venue – as the name suggests, it’s a church, and it’s an all seated gig – perfect for relaxing and enjoying the chilled out sounds.

The night opened with the support act, Messenger.  They play laid-back atmospheric prog music with great vocals, that was a real pleasure to listen to.  This was my first time listening to the band after technical problems at Sonisphere meant their original stage time was changed, but after this performance I’ll certainly try and see them again soon.

Of course most people tonight were here for Devin Townsend.  The start was delayed by a few minutes as he explained that being the UK, his gear had died 2 minutes before he was due to play.  Happily though it was fixed pretty quickly and things got underway.  I’d been looking forward to this since it was annnounced as the Casualties of Cool album is fantastic.   After a bit of talking at the start, Devin told the audience he was under strict orders not to talk throughout the show and he’d be limited to saying “thank you” three times.  It sounds a bit odd, but once the concert started, it actually made sense – it meant the music flowed through the night rather than being broken up.

casualties of coolHow to describe Casualties of Cool?  That’s definitely not easy, but I’d describe it as Johnny Cash meets Pink Floyd. It’s certainly unlike anything you’ll have heard from Devin Townsend before, but with his musical genius and the vocals of Ché Aimee Dorval, the result is something special.  It’s very soft and atmospheric, and the lovely acoustics of the venue suited it perfectly.  This was not one of those gigs where people talk and drink as much as listening to the music, instead the place was full of people sitting in the gloom just relaxing and letting the music wash over them.  In the same way that Pink Floyd have always said their music should be listened to as an album rather than individual songs, tonight is a concert where you can’t pick out individual songs – it’s the whole thing that fits together as a whole.

Watching the band on stage, they all look to be enjoying themselves and it’s hardly surprising when they’ve got such beautiful music to play and to get to play it in such a special place.  The atmosphere in the venue was special – it’s so rare to see so many people with all their attention focusssed firmly on watching the band play and listening to the music.  That meant no noise for the band to have to try and drown out.  Perhaps because of that, the volume wasnt overly high – while some gigs seem to think louder = better, tonight the focus was on making sure the sound was crystal clear and that every single note from every instrument could be heard clearly by the entire audience.

So you had great sound, a great atmosphere, and beautiful music – really you couldn’t ask for anything more, and really this was a gig where you really didn’t want it to end.  As we staggered out into the light at the end it was hard to believe an hour and a half of listening to beautiful but intense music had gone by.  A fantastic night.


The Code
Moon / Pier
Forgive Me
The Field
Gone is Gone
The Bridge
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About Ant May

I spend half my life at gigs or festivals and the other half writing the reviews and editing photos, and somehow find time for a full time job too. Who needs sleep - I've got coffee.