Live Review: Nine Inch Nails at the Hollywood Bowl

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Plain and simple, Nine Inch Nails live, is a beast. Whether it is on their albums or live show, they are very hard to top. Last night I had the pleasure of attending what is now my thirteenth Nine Inch Nails show. And they did not disappoint me. Watching Trent Reznor and his band on stage is hypnotizing. More on Nine Inch Nails in a moment.

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Starting off the show was Cold Cave. Fronted by Wesley Eisold, former vocalist of the hardcore group Give Up The Ghost (originally named American Nightmare). Their music is as though Joy Division and Disintegration era The Cure had a child. Its mix of new wave and synth pop is infectious, and the perfect type of group to open the show. Though their set was only 25 minutes, they brought a ton of energy and personality. They are one band I’d really enjoy seeing at a small club.

Next up was Soundgarden. I’ve been waiting years to see them live. Maybe my expectations were too high, but Soundgarden was boring and had no energy. Their set list was a short hodgepodge of songs from Louder Than Love, Bad Motor Finger, Superunknown and their latest (and hugely disappointing) King Animal. The only person on stage that had any energy or passion in their playing was Matt Chamberlain (Matt Cameron is too busy with Pearl Jam). The highlight of their set was when they played “Fell On Black Days,” but even that lacked anything. Chris Cornell seems like he can’t sing anymore. Musically the band still rocks, but they are boring as hell. Kim Thayill looked like a statue all night. Ben Sheppard had some moves but you could tell he was winded by the 5th song. It’s a real shame, because they were once so good. Now they are barely a shell of what they once were.

The main event of the night of course was Nine Inch Nails. Their stage set up and visuals were stunning. Though only having about an hour and a half, the set list blazed through much of their classics as well as some new gems. When Trent came out on stage alone kicking things off with “Copy of A” from Hesitation Marks, the roar of the crowd was astonishing. Joining him on stage were Robin Finck (guitar), Ilan Rubin (drums) and Alessandro Cortini (synths). The light walls that backed the band for the first few songs really draw in the attention of the crowd. By the fifth song “March Of The Pigs” everyone in attendance was on their feet and singing along in unison. The sea of hands and fists in the air was awesome. There are certain Nine Inch Nails songs that really get me beyond excited, so when they played “Gave Up,” “Eraser,” “Terrible Lie,” “Wish” and “The Great Destroyer,” I could feel my vocal cords hating me from singing so loud. Though their set was only an hour and a half, they were unrelenting and made sure that everyone in the crowd got their moneys worth.

Even with Soundgarden being a bummer, it was a great night. the combination of Nine Inch Nails, my fiance and a couple great friends made this a memorable show. Trent and company never let you down. If you have never seen Nine Inch Nails live, I suggest you pony up some bucks and see them. You won’t regret the money you spent.

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Nine Inch Nails Setlist:

1. Copy Of A
2. Sanctified
3. Came Back Haunted
4. 1,000,000
5. March Of The Pigs
6. Piggy
7. Terrible Lie
8. Closer
9. Gave Up
10. Disappointed
11. Find My Way
12. The Great Destoyer
13. Eraser
14. Wish
15. The Hand That Feeds
16. Head Like A Hole

Encore:
17. Hurt

Soundgarden Setlist:

1. Searching With My Good Eye Closed
2. Spoonman
3. Gun
4. Outshined
5. Jesus Christ Pose
6. The Day I Tried To Live
7. My Wave
8. Fell On Black Days
9. A Thousand Days Before
10. Rusty Cage
11. Black Hole Sun
12. Beyond The Wheel

 

Photos by: Alisa Diaz and her phone

 

By: Brian Lacy

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