Devildriver Returns To Vancouver For The Band's Third Ever Appearance
On a rainy Tuesday night in Vancouver, hundreds of metalheads lined the city's famed Granville street to catch the first Canadian stop in Devildriver's headline tour. If one thing is ever apparent about Vancouver and its metal fanatics, it is that they are one faithful bunch and are willing to put themselves through any amount of trouble to make it out to a metal show. Devildriver fans are especially rabid in this city and they had made the event a total sell out by the time doors were officially opened, as they have done for every other time Devildriver has rolled through our neck of the woods.
The tour, which features an all-Canadian supporting cast in Cancer Bats and Baptized in Blood, made its Vancouver stop at one of the city's more trendy dance clubs. The venue, which also happens to be named "Venue" of all things, mostly caters to a bar-hoping dance crowd and plays home to techno raves on most other nights. While the venue itself is nice and features an equal balance of floor space and upscale seating, it needs to be pointed out that the employees at Venue are some of the most insufferable people in the city and they really make it a point to take the douchebag factor to whole new levels. The employees were treating the metal fans in attendance that night like they were diseased third world prostitutes and made entry into the venue extremely difficult and lengthy, with many people being kept outside well into the start of the show; an hour after doors. To anyone thinking of attending a metal show at "Venue" in the future or to promoters looking to book a show in the city: only look to "Venue" as absolute last resort.
Despite the terrible start to the evening, Baptized in Blood took to the stage on time and looked to lighten the mood with its positive vibe and high energy performance. The crowd seemed to really enjoy the Ontario, Canada thrash act and did not hesitate to open the pit up early. Performing a rather short set, Baptized in Blood managed to cram all of the fan favorite tracks from its self-titled Roadrunner Records debut into the set with "Dirty's Back" being the lone highlight for me. Its hard to put a finger on what exactly it was, but the band just did not take an interest with me. The sound was great and each band member were very into its performance, but the music itself seemed to lack any punch as its set went on. Although for a young band that already has Megadeth's Dave Mustaine singing its praises the future is surely a bright one for this young thrash act.
If one were to conduct a survey of those in the audience, based on people's T-Shirts, it would seem as if Ontario's Cancer Bats were in fact the headline act of the evening. Further proof that Cancer Bats was indeed the band most had come to see came as soon as the energetic act walked onstage. The crowd immediately turned the entire floor space into one giant pit, with people flying in each and every direction. Due to the venue's lack of ability in hosting a metal show there was no security up front, which actually enhanced the show and allowed for both fans and Cancer Bats vocalist Liam Cormier to continuously dive into the crowd. Performing half of his vocals on stage and the rest surfing on top of the frenzied Vancouver legions Cormier - as well as the rest of the band - made the most use out of its criminally short set length and tore through all forty minutes of it with full force, not once taking a break to catch its breath. Every one of the band's three albums were well represented, with three tracks coming from its debut album "Birthing the Giant." While 90% of the crowd were 100% into the 'Bats there were still a few skeptics in the audience but the remaining few were quickly won over once the Cancer Bats pulled its secret weapon out of the bag: a cover of the Beastie Boys classic "Sabotage." Simply put, Cancer Bats stole the show and set the bar so high that it simply couldn't be touched.
The crowd had thinned itself out just slightly by the time Devildriver hit the stage but that didn't
stop Dez Fafara and the rest of Devildriver from delivering a strong performance. Opening with the infectious "End of the Line" from the 2005 album "Fury of our Maker's Hand," Devildriver had the remainder of the audience going nuts. While things were not as hectic as they were during the Cancer Bats' set there were still plenty of stage divers of both the male and female variety and the band kept its momentum going at full speed throughout the night. Every album had its time to shine, even a new track from the forthcoming album "Beast" was deployed with maximum brutality. One thing Devildriver is known for, besides their heavy-as-hell tunes, is how down-to-earth each band member is. On its last appearance in the city Dez Fafara made headlines for getting a security guard kicked out of a venue for roughing up some kids and on this occasion he once again took the Devildriver fans under his wing; allowing fans to chill-out on stage and take a short rest before diving headfirst back into the madness.
While Devildriver gave its best performance to date in the city, it still fell just a bit short from matching the level of intensity of the Cancer Bats. But to the band's credit Devildriver gave its fans
a near two hour show that contained everything a good metal concert is made of. It is without a doubt the Devildriver fans left the Venue that Tuesday night very satisfied, and extremely sore.
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