I always say the first show of the year sets the tone for what’s to come. This year, I started off with a band I’d been waiting to see for a long time.
Neurosis. The source of influence for many of my favorite bands today.
I walked to the venue on the chilly January Friday evening, the first official week of the year complete. LA’s own Ides of Gemini soon took the stage, their hypnotic, trudging goth metal warming the room. They sound unique and ominous, even though the vocalist admitted to be fighting laryngitis.
Savage Republic was a mystery to me; their industrial art metal was Blue Man Group-esque in parts. But I could see their experimental edge explaining their presence in this lineup; there was a worldly feel and also something that was distinctly ’90s rock about them. But it was an instrumental number dedicated to a band member who had recently passed that was their shining moment, a performance worthy of evoking sentiments without knowing band or song.
I’ve seen Scott Kelly in a couple of his other projects, but I never had the full Neurosis experience; and I’ll have to say that this show was like a rite of passage for me, regardless of people’s comments on the trajectory of the band. There are few bands that come close to my personal number one- Nine Inch Nails, in terms of uniqueness in sound, complexity in composition, and general weirdness in direction…and I have to say Neurosis is one of them. As I watched them on stage, it was like seeing a bunch of parts that shouldn’t be together that just were and totally made sense.
Their set meandered from old to new, highlighting their lengthy compositions that directed us through an array of gray emotions so eloquently. I got off on watching the maniacal twitchings of bassist Dave Edwardson, swathed in a Kylesa shirt. I saw some people in the front and played the game “behavioral tick or really good drugs?” as I watched them tap into something I could not feel or see but knew was there as well.
As assaulting as it was fuzzy, the set took us into the wee hours of that Friday night. Finishing up with “Through Silver In Blood”, my brain felt reconfigured. As I left and wandered back home, the optimism that is forced at the beginning of the year was tempered, and I knew that 2013 would be just like the others: as light as it is dark, and as joyful as it is painful.