The nice thing about living in New York City, for SGM’s purposes, is that we tend to get a lot of shows passing through. One could argue that the tradeoff is, say, Chinatown in the dead of summer and the stench of fish and garbage, large rodents and indestructible insects, and subway cars ripe with all sorts of heavy air and unpleasant odors. But let’s not think about summer in the city just yet.
There are also times, however, when a band or bands do a short run of dates in other parts of the country and the tour looks so tempting that you find yourself on travel websites at odd hours of the night looking for flights to places like Seattle, Washington so you can see the trifecta of Sumac, YOB, and Neurosis at Neumos.
Is this scenario hypothetical? In this case no, that is exactly what I did. My only regret being that I inadvertently stumbled upon that gross gum wall while I was wandering around Seattle. Note to self, enticing stairs descending to pretty cobblestone streets don’t always result in mysterious Diagon-like alleys. Sometimes they lead to a lot of people, mostly tourists, chewing gum, blowing bubbles and taking selfies while you awkwardly twitch in revulsion and try to push through while inexplicably holding your breath for no reason.
So yeah, Sumac, YOB, and Neurosis at Neumos. It was really something I wanted to experience, especially having heard so much about Neumos as a killer venue. Sumac played first and compared to when I saw them at Saint Vitus, I felt like the energy at this show and for this particular set was on another level. Maybe Seattle feels like home and the vibe is different, but it was palpable. I always like watching the dynamic between bandmates and seeing these guys joking like brothers onstage and playing such intensely dynamic music together was really endearing. The entire set had a very climactic feel to it, and when they struck their last chord it was like being snapped back to reality after a deep meditation. Even the gentleman next to me couldn’t help but smile, look over at me and say “Man, that was transcendental!” I could not have agreed more.
Up next was YOB, beautiful YOB. One of the most zen metal bands ever to exist. It’s so clear they love what they do and they love being on stage sharing their music with all of us. Bathed in a warm kaleidoscope of light, guitarist Mike Scheidt removes you from the venue and the crowd and brings you into a rhythmic trance with him. The unique mixture of worldly sounds, sludgy doom, and distorted vocals all creates the ethereal experience known as YOB. It’s a feeling few bands are able to accomplish so sincerely.
Last but certainly not least, as we all know, was Neurosis. I’m still kind of amazed at what a difference the venue made. I’d never been fortunate enough to see Neurosis in a venue this size and it was really refreshing. I could tell the crowd felt very connected to the band and hopefully the band felt the same. A low stage also meant they were basically standing right in front of me, so close it was almost difficult to shoot at some points, which I found comical. As I’ve come to expect from Neurosis, their set was well crafted, with a natural ebb and flow. Their recent anniversary show in San Francisco is still in the forefront of my mind as one of the best shows I’ve ever seen, but this show was a close second.
Check out the photo below!