Neurosis Parc Jean-Drapeau, Montreal QC, August 7

Neurosis Parc Jean-Drapeau, Montreal QC, August 7
Photo: Adam Wills
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Neurosis are trying to hurt you, badly. There is an extraordinary amount of beauty, and tenderness, and fragile, shivering joy in their music, so much potential for healing and release. It's easy to focus on this potential for bliss and loveliness, the relief and peace that comes after, but the fact of the matter is, in order to get there, you're going to have to suffer through a great deal of pain, and Neurosis are always willing to be your merciless guides through the process.
 
There is nothing else in the world quite like being present while they perform live; "listening" seems an inaccurate term, since encountering the wall of sound they throw off is something far more embodied and visceral than that; the vibrations in your skeleton count for as much as the ringing in your ears.
 
Their set at the aptly named Apocalypse Stage was painted in shades of sublimity from the opening squalls of "Locust Star," all wire whips and hailstones. There was some deep gentleness in the looping, elliptical structures of "Times of Grace," but soon, even that sweetness was dialled up until it became agonizing. Neurosis ask for everything from their audience; if you're the sort of person who is willing to give it, it's easy to leave one of their sets weeping.