Neurosis, Bell Witch, and Deafkids at Thalia Hall

I respect bands that give me something of themselves that I can feel.

Neil Young

August 17, 2019

In early 2019, Neurosis announced their summer plans: a July tour of Europe to be followed by an August run of North American dates in the eastern U.S. and Canada. The last stop on this tour: Thalia Hall, a historic venue in Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood, and a suitably spacious vessel to (barely) contain the sonic onslaught of Neurosis and their U.S. tour mates Bell Witch and Deafkids. Photos of all three bands are below.

Thalia Hall’s chalkboard


Kicking off the show was Brazil’s Deafkids, a trio who recently signed to Neurot Recordings and released their first full length album for Neurot, entitled Metaprogramação. Their sound is a mind bending affair replete with rhythmic percussion, distorted guitar, and vocal effects, the sum of which evades any simple classification. It’s psychedelic, noisy, and somewhat trance-inducing. This was Deafkids’ first tour in the U.S. and they continue touring through September 1st. This band is rapidly garnering acclaim through word of mouth and it’s exciting to see their trajectory. In July 2019 they worked with Killing Joke’s frontman Jazz Coleman on new material, which will hopefully see a release soon.

Bell Witch

Seattle’s Bell Witch (currently on Profound Lore Records) occupied the second slot of the evening and provided a stark contrast to the rapid fire psych-punk of Deafkids. Bell Witch’s style of composition favors slowly building, atmospheric, immersive doom metal — think along the lines of Corrupted’s El Mundo Frio. The two piece, consisting of bass guitarist Dylan Desmond and drummer Jesse Shreibman, tends toward songs on the lengthier side. For a two-person band, they have an imposing stage presence. Bathed in red light for the duration of their set, they definitely kept the attention of the audience, and quite capably filled Thalia Hall’s sizable room with ominous sound.


What initially drew me into the music of Neurosis in the 1990s was that their sound — particularly in concert — is transportive. You will lose track of yourself as you’re pulled elsewhere, and that is a quality that has not waned in the three-plus decades that they’ve been together as a band. It is not a stretch to say that those who’ve experienced Neurosis live would put the band in a class by themselves.

Thalia Hall is a great venue to see Neurosis and the sound was perfect — the full range of the band came through with clarity and distinction. The audience was pretty mesmerized and packed the entire floor and the upper balcony seating.

Neurosis’ most recent work is 2016’s Fires Within Fires; hopefully they’ll soon get the itch to start writing new material, if that hasn’t begun already. I look forward to the next time…

Set list