Back in 2007, Queens Of The Stone Age released their album, Era Vulgaris. An album in their catalog that I find to be very underrated and often over looked. This album featured some of the band’s best material since Songs For The Deaf. Another thing I’ve always dug about this particular album is the production. There’s a really dirty, distorted vibe that is crisp and clear but feels hard and heavy. Through and through this is a rock record. Live when these songs are played they are grittier than the album and makes it even better. There is a song that was recorded for the album but, would eventually become a b-side called “Era Vulgaris” sometimes more known as “You Know What You Did.” This track was released originally part of a fan site contest for fans to win a “special package” from the band. Selected winners received a CD entitled You Know What You Did with the sole track “Era Vulgaris”, which singer/guitarist Josh Homme confirmed would not be appearing on the record despite being the title track, though it was included as a bonus track on the UK edition. This song features guest vocals from the one and only Trent Reznor. It’s one of those songs that when you hear you wonder why it was left off the original track listing. It’s that good. If you’ve never heard this track you are in for a treat!
Queens Of The Stone Age- “Era Vulgaris (aka You Know What You Did):”
This one is too easy and since I’m still on a roll from my 19th NIN show, it’s only fitting. There is no denying the power of this song. There is a reason why it’s been a live staple since the beginning and why it pretty much closes the show. “Head Like A Hole” is an absolute triumph of a track one. Interestingly, “Down In It” was the first single from Pretty Hate Machine but, once “Head Like A Hole” was released and the video too, there was nothing that was going to stop Nine Inch Nails. This song is pure awesome. It’s song with 2 choruses and both are equally as punishing as the other! Live, this song goes to a whole other level especially with thousands of people singing along. Head Like A Hole is a perfect example of what a track one should be!
It doesn’t matter how many times I’ve seen Nine Inch Nails (this was number 19), I’m always left speechless at the end of their shows. It’s more than just a band playing a show to me. There is so much more to it and the level at which Trent and Company perform at is astounding. Plus seeing them at the Santa Barbara Bowl makes it a little more special as that venue has it’s own cool, mystic vibe with it being tucked away in the hill and the sound there is just incredible.
The night was perfect for this show. The cool night air coming off the pacific was coming in creating this very distinct atmosphere that was shaping up for something to explode, and that it did. As the clock struck 8:15 pm the rumble began and out came Mr. Self Destruct right out of the gate like they just released the bulls in the streets of Spain. Then the assault kept coming as “Wish,” “Last,” and “March Of The Pigs” utterly destroyed and decimated the audience. Then came “Piggy” which has always been a live favorite of mine. There was something about this version of “Piggy” that hit a bit harder than usual. Perhaps it’s all the things going on with me but, I keep having “Nothing Can Stop Me Now” repeating in my head as a mantra and I hope that doesn’t go away.” Then Trent moved along to “The Lovers” a track off their EP, Add Violence that hits so well live. It’s a song with tinges of the Pretty Hate Machine era mixed with a bit of a Fragile vibe. Next up is where I’m pretty sure I lost my voice as The Frail/The Wretched were played. I apologize to the guy next to me but, something came over me and I was in another place while screaming my lungs out during that song. And it didn’t help my voice much after that song as NIN charged into one of my favorites from The Downward Spiral, “Reptile.” After that there was a bit of break with the inclusion of a really great live version of “God Break Down The Door” and “Copy Of A.” The one song I could have done without and gave me a break was “Closer.” Then a quick talk with the audience with Trent saying “now how bout we play a sad song” and then they broke out “This Isn’t The Place” which is one of my favorite newer songs. It’s such a beautiful song that really hits you in the feels. Listen to it and you’ll hear it. Then another eruption happened with “Heresy” and right into one of my top 5 NIN songs of all time “The Perfect Drug.” As the night was winding down we got a very rocking (almost extended) version of David Bowie’s “I’m Afraid Of Americans,” a heavy hard charging “Gave Up” into the closing staples of “The Hand That Feeds” and “Head Like A Hole.” For the encore, I couldn’t have been more elated to have “Even Deeper” be part of it. I love that song. Finally, the end came and “Hurt” closed it out.
I’ve seen now seen Nine Inch Nails 19 times and each of them have been their own experience. It’s truly something remarkable to have seen a band this many times in the 22 years since the first time, and still walk out of the show like it’s something fresh and new. Trent Reznor never disappoints. The songs are classic and timeless. On a performance level, to be able to go out there and still give it everything they have each night, on top of the intricate lights, and other behind the scenes work, makes each Nine Inch Nails tour and show special. I will go every chance I get to see this band. Thank you Nine Inch Nails for all the years of amazingness! I will see you again very soon!
Review and Photos: Brian Lacy
PHOTOS: NINE INCH NAILS- Live at the Santa Barbara Bowl
01) Mr. Self Destruct 02) Wish 03) Last 04) March Of The Pigs 05) Piggy 06) The Lovers 07) The Frail 08) The Wretched 09) Reptile 10) God Break Down The Door 11) Copy Of A 12) Closer (with The Only Time breakdown) 13) This Isn’t The Place 14) Heresy 15) The Perfect Drug 16) I’m Afraid Of Americans (David Bowie Cover) 17) Gave Up 18) The Hand That Feeds 19) Head Like A Hole
Since the news broke today that Nine Inch Nails annouced new tour dates for 2022, of course it would put me in a NIN frame of mind. Instead of something typical to post about why not explore some of the remixes. One of the remix albums that often gets overlooked in their catalog is Things Falling Apart from The Fragile era. The remix version of “Where Is Everybody?” done by Danny Lohner (aka Renholder) and Josh Eustis and Charles Cooper of Telefon Tel Aviv is superb. This version is much more atmospheric and features some really cool glitch beats towards the latter half of the song. Take a moment to dig into this awesome version and the whole remix album!
Nine Inch Nails- Where Is Everybody? (Renholder/Telefon Tel Aviv Remix):
It’s always fun to take songs of the same name and put them on back to back and contemplate about which one is better. There are so many of them out there and some are definitely better than some. One that I did recently were the songs “Sin” by Nine Inch Nails from Pretty Hate Machine and by Stone Temple Pilots on their album Core. Now these are both totally different but are quite good songs. The NIN one will always take the top prize for me. “Sin” the NIN version is in my top 10 all time favorite NIN songs.
Nine Inch Nails 2007 album Year Zero is a true Unsung Masterpiece. It’s one hell of an album. The concept behind it is super eerie when you think about what has been happening to society and government over the years. The first single from the album, “Survivalism” is tremendous. The lyrical content along with the pulsating beat are so damn good. The video for the song is on a whole other level. At the end of 2007, Rolling Stone readers voted the video as the best music video of year. Directed by Trent Reznor, Rob Sheridan and Alex Lieu, the video consists of a series of images from a console of secret cameras installed in an apartment block. As the camera moves between the footage, viewers are able to see into the lives of a number of residents, including:
A catatonic older couple watching television with a portrait of Jesus behind them.
A man looking after his drugged spouse (and in one scene possibly dripping or injecting the fictional drug “opal” in her eyes).
Two men having sexual intercourse in bed. (Covered by the US Bureau of Morality image in the TV edit.)
A topless woman applying make-up in a bathroom. (Covered by the US Bureau of Morality image in the TV edit.)
A man sitting at a table staring at his food.
Three men in a shop (and later in an alley) working with stencils.
A man in his cubicle surfing the Internet on his laptop computer.
Nine Inch Nails performing the song in a room.
There’s so much more to this video. Each time you watch it, you find something else that was hidden in there and a bit subliminal. Nine Inch Nails videos are some of the best you’ll see.
As far back as I can remember I’ve had a disdain for pop music. There way it’s all manufactured and put together really drives me nuts, especially in the last 20 years. The word artist gets used way too much in pop music when these people are glorified performers rather than true artists. Though, along the way, there are a few that have been able to carve their own paths and stray away from the generic norms of the pop world. A couple years back my friend played a song for me without telling me anything about it. After the song was over, I quite intrigued by it. The song was “Nightmare” by Halsey and it was great. There was something different about her and I had to know more. Fast forward to now and the release of her new album, If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power, and now I can’t get enough.
If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power is a tour de force of an album. Having Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross producing and at the helm, has escalated Halsey into a whole other realm. In a recent interview, Halsey had mentioned that working with Trent Reznor had been a dream of hers for years. Speaking on the direction of the album, Halsey said, “I wanted really cinematic sort of, not horror specifically, but kind of just really unsettling production.” Working with Trent and Atticus has brought in a real element of danger into the fold and genre bending to the pop world. When you listen to this album, you can hear Halsey in her natural element.
This album is unique in that there is not really any “hits” on it. There are catchy chorus’s and elements that are hooks but, it’s definitely not what you expect. There is an intensity and vulnerability throughout the album that radiates and burns ever so bright. Each song brings has it’s own identity. The deep exploratory personal lyrics permeate throughout. The conceptual elements of the album tie it all together in a way that most pop “artists” would shy away from but not Halsey. Instead, this is a head first dive into the psyche and realizations of someone who has finally found a sense of bliss and happiness through all the madness. The gothic undertones along with industrial tinges, atmospheric sounds, mixed with live instrumentation (something that is greatly missing from pop music) and soaring raw vocals, makes for one hell of a listening experience. There are so many songs on this album that I enjoy. At the moment, “Tradition,” “Easier Than Lying,” “You Asked For This,” “Honey,” “I’m Not A Woman. I’m A God,” and “The Lighthouse” are my favorite tracks. I would go in depth on them but, as I’ve said on other reviews, I don’t want to give or take anything away from your own listening experience.
If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power is one of the best albums of 2021. It offers something new in a genre that has grown stale, boring and predictable. By having Trent and Atticus come aboard and direct this album and bring out all these things to the pop world, will hopefully shift a change for the good. The production is similar in some spots to Trent and Atticus’s How To Destroy Angels project as well as incorporating elements they’ve learned from their film scoring career. The album also features some real heavy hitters like Dave Grohl from Foo Fighters (plays on Honey), Lindsay Buckingham from Fleetwood Mac (plays on Darling) Dave Sitek from TV On The Radio (plays on You Asked For This), and Pino Paladino (plays on Lilith). Halsey has made an album that not only can she be proud of but, can look back 20 years from now and it will be looked at as a game changer for pop music. If more pop artists were like Halsey and were willing to try new things outside the box and show this side of themselves, there could be a whole new revolution within pop music.
This one is definitely out of left field one for some of you but, this new album by Halsey is quite remarkable. Her new album, If I Can’t Have Love I Want Power is a tour de force of so many emotions. The album was produced by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross and features Halsey at her most vulnerable yet. This is the way pop artists should evolve. You can tell that this collaboration between Halsey, Trent and Atticus is a modern match made in heaven. One listen all the way through the album and you will instantly start it again because you want to go back to all the things you might have missed. This is one hell of an album and it should be noted as such. A full review will come next week but, until then, enjoy this album.
Well this was a welcome surprise. Danny Elfman AND Trent Reznor on a track together?!?!?! YES PLEASE!! This song is a remix of sorts of the song “True” from Elfman’s album, Big Mess. Speaking on the collaboration, Danny said “This is the first duet/collaboration I’ve ever done in my life, so to do it with Trent was a real surprise and a treat,” Elfman explained in a statement. “He’s always been a big inspiration to me, not to mention he has one of my all-time favourite singing voices.” Well, the results are excellent and this song sounds even better now.
Back in 2009, Nine Inch Nails announced a series of shows to sort of say goodbye for the time being. It was a very bittersweet thing to hear but, as a fan for many many many years, it made sense. Before the shows were announced, Nine Inch Nails spent the summer on the road with Jane’s Addiction (with all the original members). That was origianlly supposed to be the end but, seeing as Nine Inch Nails would be playing at different times and under the backdrop of a sunset many a times, it just didn’t feel quite right for that to be the end. Instead, a series of shows were announced in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. I was lucky enough to attend 3 of the 4 Los Angeles shows. The final one was at The Wiltern and what a show it was. Over 3 hours (yes, THREE HOURS) of nonstop Nine Inch Nails at it’s absolute finest. The setlist was utterly perfect and beyond emotional. Thankfully too, there were a group of fans in the audience that night filming it all and they put together one of the best live shows I’ve ever been to. Without giving anything away, I highly recommend you taking the time to watch/listen to this show!