Neurosis at Summit Music Hall, 2/16/13

Categories: Concert Reviews

Brandon Marshall
Neurosis on stage at the Summit Music Hall in Denver. Slide show: Neurosis and fans at the Summit

Experiencing the rare and punishing set from Neurosis at the Summit Music Hall evoked the sensation of being in front of an oncoming freight train. But then the music itself was so powerful and felt like so many things that it was almost overwhelming. The imposing moments of ferocity were tempered by a transcendent like peace from Jason Roeder, whose drive behind the kit only suspended for a bit outside of atmospheric accents. Neurosis pushed itself and the crowd to the very edge, emotionally and musically, with its relentlessly raw and very tangible outpouring of energy.

See also:
- Slide show: Neurosis and fans at the Summit
- Scott Kelly of Neurosis on how the band treats every show like it's the last
- Review + post-show Q&A: Scott Kelly of Neurosis at the hi-dive, 12/3/11

Brandon Marshall
Neurosis on stage at the Summit Music Hall in Denver. Slide show: Neurosis and fans at the Summit

From the very beginning of its set, Neurosis set the bar high for the rest of the show, as the vibrant and rich, distorted drones of "Eye" came crashing in. With buzz tones cutting through spirals of coruscating electronics and winding their way around riffs like a series of short, temporary shocks, Scott Kelly and Dave Edwardson traded animalistic vocals that distorted naturally, as though the two were giving a Viking war cry with every line.

The set consisted mostly of tracks from the band's two most recent albums, 2007's Given to the Rising and 2012's Honor Found in Decay. This may not necessarily be every fan's favorite era, but this show displayed the strength of that material in no uncertain terms. The pounding of Roeder's drum at the beginning of "At the End of the Road" felt like that interlude toward the end of "Raining Blood" by Slayer, but here it sounding more like stepping stones to a far darker, more vital place.

Brandon Marshall
Neurosis on stage at the Summit Music Hall in Denver. Slide show: Neurosis and fans at the Summit

Even when the synth line zipped through that soundscape and the rippling, distorted guitar line sketched out spiky tendrils of melody, it did not fully prepare you for the colossus of instrumentation and hammer sways of force that made up the dynamics of the last part of the song. Neurosis has a real knack for making you anticipate what's coming next and then going beyond your expectations by coming up with something so powerful, so eruptive that even if you know it's coming from having listened to the records, it still takes you by surprise.

The flanger on the bass line at the beginning of "Times of Grace" got a lot of cheers from the crowd -- many of whom had already let out the primal side of their psyche without letting it get stupidly out of hand -- and when the song came down like a hail of fire it was a revelation. Although the song came out fourteen years ago, getting to be on hand to witness it in the flesh gave it a new level of meaning. It was a lot like hearing about an incredible place and then having the chance to visit and take it all in rather than reading about it in a book.

When Neurosis moved into the dark ambient intro to "The Tide," the outfit got an especially strong reaction from the crowd. Starting off with a somber, quiet riff with ghostly breezes of sound as accompaniment, the song drifted into an almost baroque melody and stepped decisively into a magnificent part of the song comprising an incandescent melody bookended by stabbing/slashing riffs.

Brandon Marshall
Neurosis on stage at the Summit Music Hall in Denver. Slide show: Neurosis and fans at the Summit

"We All Rage in Gold," after one of the many evocative interstitial atmospheric pieces between songs, served as a nice counterpoint to "The Tide," with its folky yet spooky intro that plays out before engaging directly and showcasing some of Kelly's best lyrics to date. Between the driving dynamic that all but goes off the map, especially in the more recent era of Neurosis, and the mixture of the contemplative and the cathartic, everything just seemed to make sense, infusing the performance and the song with an unexpected depth.

"Bleeding the Pigs" seemed so despairing that it was unsettling, especially given Steve Von Till's vocal introduction. It was like reading the epitaph of a friend in public with a dramatic emotional weight that would be difficult not to convey. When guitars come in, it's like boiling electricity, which is quite fitting, all things considered.

Brandon Marshall
Neurosis on stage at the Summit Music Hall in Denver. Slide show: Neurosis and fans at the Summit

The pace and the density of sound ramped up considerably for "Given to the Rising." That center section with the great minor key synth line from Noah Landis, Gary Numan-esque in its otherworldliness, took us out of the moment for a short while but then song rushed right back in like a tide.

The song most people shouted out came at the end of show. During "Locust Star," you could see arms going into the air more than at any other time of the show, and the members of Neurosis gave at least as good as they got. Dave Edwardson, having looked so intense and menacing throughout most of the show, wore a knowing smile because he knew the band had more than gone over with the crowd. Indeed, it wasn't just that it was a Neurosis show, but this is one where the band reminded us with its setlist why it was always one of the most compelling bands still around, and why it still very much is.

Keep reading for more on the show, including a setlist and a bit about openers Native Daughters and Munly & The Lupercalians.

Location Info


Summit Music Hall

1902 Blake St., Denver, CO

Category: Music

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The Maniac is not a problem at metal shows.  Too much cardio for most metal fans who are usually content to get drunk and thrash their heads.  The Maniac is a kid who grew up moshing (aka ninja hardcore dancing) and revert to his roots for songs he is really passionate about.  Moshing is amazing when done in the scene, though Westword and Denver Post music writers seem to think otherwise.  At hardcore shows the audience is ready for it, knows how to protect themselves and the bands appreciate it.  The difference is when the Maniac shows up to punk or even pop punk shows, where circle pitting or even just sing-alongs are more the norm.  All of a sudden, the music gets to the Maniac and he's piling on the Karaoke Kings, crashing into the Directors and windmilling The Overserved.  I just can never decide if I should applaud how much he disrupts others' annoying behaviors or bemoan the fights he incites with The Overserved.  Then I remember that The Overserved will fight anyone and I think that sometimes, Maniacs are my heroes.  Thanks for clearing some space up front.  ; )  

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