Neurosis 11/4/07 at Logan Square Auditorium

Last night I went to see Neurosis play at the Logan Square Auditorium. This is the first time Neurosis has been back here in more years than I can recall. I think my best guess is maybe six or seven years since they played Chicago. At some point they just stopped touring for a long time whereas they used to play here at least once every time they put out an album, if not more than once. I was glad to see them return especially because their most recent album is better than the last couple that came before it.

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US Christmas

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US Christmas

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US Christmas

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US Christmas

After a whole lot of running around, I arrived to find the first band, US Christmas were already playing. I think I missed the first 15 minutes of their set. They were a strange hybrid of Southern rock and space-age post rock. On top of the traditional instruments, they had a guy who controlled all kinds of strange effects devices and their bass player also had similar gimmicks that he sometimes controlled depending on their song. I found myself on the fence about them as some of the heavier and more experimental songs I really liked and the ones that were more Southern rock sounding didn’t really appeal to me. My final impression was had they shaved about ten minutes off their set I would have enjoyed them a bit more.

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Minsk

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Minsk

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Minsk

After the stage was cleared, Minsk were up next. I had never heard of them before but little did I know I was in for a pleasant surprise. Their music was in a very similar vein to bands like Neurosis and Isis. They have long songs full of changes and odd tunings and effects. The vocals were fairly minimal and they were very powerful and sometimes droning. The last song they played had to be about 15 minutes long and it was really intense and built to a very satisfying and powerful climax. I promptly bought their LP from them after the show I was so taken with them.

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Neurosis

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Neurosis

After a fairly lengthy equipment change and setup, Neurosis took the stage to what was starting to become an impatient crowd. In the first five minutes they reminded me about just how great they are. They played a good portion of their newest album Given to the Rising, as well as a couple from the album that preceded it. While the new album is quite good, they are so much more of a powerful force live. In fact in the years it has been since last seeing them, I had forgotten just how powerful they are live. Neurosis live is one of the most powerful, intense and heavy bands in the world. Words can’t adequately describe the feeling you get when they get start beating the shit out of their instruments in a controlled way and make these things emit sounds and energy that they were never designed to do. As good as most of their records are, they always fail to truly capture the force of their live sound.

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Neurosis

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Neurosis

As they were playing, various images were displayed on a screen/backdrop set up behind them. That and the minimal lighting (about five dim blue lights lit up the stage and whatever projected on the screen consisted of the rest of the lighting) really set the mood for their whole post-apocalyptic whirlwind of sound. It also made for a photographers nightmare as the lighting was so low, even with my fastest lenses and ridiculously high ISO, photographing this show was a losing battle that I must apologize for.

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Neurosis

The band paused for a couple of minutes between songs to get their abused instruments in order to repeat the pounding they’d endure in the next song. After each song, the crowd were extremely vocal in their approval of what they just heard. After about 70 minutes, the band finished their set with the song “The Doorway” and the crowd really got into that one especially to the point that a pit nearly formed. When they finished the crowd lingered around for awhile hoping for more, but sadly the show was over.

In their lengthy absence, Neurosis had not lost a fraction of a step as they’ve gotten older. In fact they have aged gracefully and time has not at all softened the intensity of their live show. They are still a band that shouldn’t be missed!