All photography and content © John Raptis Photography 2020

Devin Townsend & Meshuggah Live @ The Forum, Melbourne, Australia

Half way through a crazy week of shooting the cream of the crop when it comes to the Metal genre! Seriously, the Soundwave series of gigs – both the festivals and the ‘Sidewave’ shows manage to bring out some of the finest bands from all over the world! Big Day Out? Forget about it! This is where it’s at and on a Wednesday night you could have taken your pick and seen a slew of gigs at nearly every major venue in Melbourne…

You soon come to the realisation that the Metal genre is in an incredibly healthy state right now yet our radio airwaves are polluted with all sorts of mindless dribble and mastobatory schlock designed to sell soap suds.

I was originally scheduled to shoot System Of A Down and The Dillinger Escape Plan over at Rod Laver Arena but when I saw that it clashed with the Devin Townsend & Meshuggah gigs, I quickly changed my schedule as I did not want to miss out on Dev and Meshuggah. No chance in hell!

The show had sold out and I always love being with camera in tow at Melbourne’s oh-so-gorgeous Forum Theatre. The Forum would seriously rank as one of my have places to see and/or photograph a band and I was pleased as punch to see that Devin and co would be stomping its hallowed floors tonight!

I hustled my way to the photo-pit and caught up with some familiar faces who were there to shoot the show as well. The crowd was growing impatient and began chanting Meshuggah’s name in earnest. As the lights dimmed and the crowd’s anticipation quickly turned into a raucous rumble, the members of Meshuggah slumbered onto the stage as if on a death march. The lo-end drown of their intro tape grew in volume and tone and in a flash the band began to mercilessly pulverise all before their wake.This was my second time seeing Meshuggah but my first in the photo-pit.

What can one say about this band that hasn’t been said before? They sound like nothing you have ever heard before in your life. Nothing comes close to the intricate time-shifts and ferocious, malevolent, relentless pounding. Fuck it! There’s no point in trying to understand just what the hell they are playing, collectively they would rank as one of the heaviest bands in the world and live, they bring it to the table like no other.

The always incredible Devin Townsend project were next. What can I say? Big fan! And even tho I had photographed them on their previous tour, I wanted another crack at them.

Devin has more facial mannerisms than any other human being on the fucking planet! Twisting and contorting his face with every magnificent note he plays! He is just so damn cool to photograph and always looks like he is having the time of his life up on that stage. Even tonight’s security were transfixed at the happenings on stage and enjoying every part of Devin’s performance – which might explain having two people crash in your back and head during Meshuggah’s set earlier. I’ll be wearing that bruise for a while I can assure you!


Devin Townsend

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