Neurosis pulverized Brooklyn Steel with Bell Witch & Deafkids (pics, setlist)
Lesson learned: just because a show at Brooklyn Steel is advertised as starting at 8, doesn’t mean it starts at 8. Deafkids’ set time posted on the wall of the venue was 7:30, as I saw entering the venue exactly at 8. The show was luckily running late though as they kept playing until almost 8:20 which was Bell Witch’s posted set time. It was easy to see why Neurosis love (and signed) the Brazilian band who they brought out to open this tour. Though we missed most of their set, the talented three piece quickly sucked me in with their, in Steve Von Till’s words, “unique psychoactive journey of Brazilian polyrhythmic percussion, hypnotic chanting, and aggressive repetitive raw punk.”
Bell Witch play as a duo, and I’m pretty sure their set was one continuous, roughly-40 minute song, which shouldn’t be surprising when you remember that the Seattle funeral doom band’s devastating 2017 album Mirror Reaper is one track, 83:15 long. Founding member Dylan Desmond stands to the left of the stage — never addressing the crowd — on six string bass. Jesse Shreibman — who joined the band after the death of Adrian Guerra — sits at his drum kit to the right. The music is mostly slow and instrumental with long passages building towards sudden outbursts; Desmond handles the clean vocals when they come, Jesse is on the harsh. It’s the kind of set that would have been better experienced sitting, but which also seemed to end too quickly, leaving me wanting more as the two musicians quietly disappeared off stage.
Finally, punk turned sludge turned post-metal legends Neurosis took the stage, and they were as monstrous as ever. For this tour, they’re keeing their set to their Steve Albini-recorded post-metal era, and they seem to be doing the same setlist each night. They played three songs off their latest album, 2017’s Fires Within Fires, and didn’t reach back any further than 1999’s Times of Grace, with favorites like “End of the Harvest,” “A Sun That Never Sets,” “At the Well,” and more played. They didn’t play anything from 2004’s The Eye of Every Storm, though, which they did touch on during their 2018 tour (2018 setlists also have a song from Through Silver In Blood). (Scott Kelly has pointed out that the band does not enjoy playing the real old stuff, like they did at their 30th anniversary shows at Roadburn and in San Francisco in 2016.) As always, they seemed larger than life, and all five members bring their own crucial elements to the show. Guitarists/vocalists Scott Kelly and Steve Von Till provide the bellowing roars and skull-crushing power chords, bassist Dave Edwardson keeps the punk energy of the band’s early days intact, keyboardist Noah Landis rocks way harder than you expect from a keyboardist, and drummer Jason Roeder holds it all down in the back. They’re a force to be reckoned with, and that was on full display on Sunday night.
Pictures of all three bands are in the gallery above, and a pic of Neurosis’ setlist is below.
photos by Mathieu Bredeau