Vancouver fans of the singular heavy music monolith known as Neurosis had waited a long, long time for this sold-out show – and many fans from distant locales made long treks across mountains and provincial or international borders to witness this rare, elemental music experience. Beginning with Sumac’s dynamic opening set and carrying through Yob’s transcendent tunes, the evening was an auditory perfect storm.
On a personal note, while one couldn’t help be disappointed that the band had elected to omit any “Through Silver in Blood” tracks from the setlist, having previously witnessed that tour during its stop at Toronto’s Opera House in 1996/97, one recalls Michael Gira (Swans)’s comments regarding the bro-ish shift in audience culture as his band achieved greater notoriety; for many people, experiencing Through Silver in Blood is an unparalleled and singular spiritual experience, so figuratively putting it on a shelf out of reach almost seems necessary to respect its power and preserve its integrity. Fortunately, closing the set with the similarly transcendent song “The Doorway” (from subsequent album Times of Grace) felt like a tacit acknowledgement of this sentiment.
That said, this opportunity to experience a Neurosis performance – on the cusp of the winter solstice, no less – was a gift that transcends the superficial trappings of the holiday season to celebrate darker truths in the company of a like-minded community. Echoing Aaron Turner’s closing remarks at the end of Sumac’s set, it’s all about love.
Best wishes to all our readers for the winter solstice season.