REVIEW gig Old Subbacultcha Old Subbacultcha
Nine Inch Nails return to show how an Arena show is done properly
Nine Inch Nails @ O2 Arena - 23rd May 2014 - 8/10It’s been a while since Trent Reznor, resplendent in his black wife-beater shirt and military-style cropped hair, has prowled a UK stage with the Industrial behemoth that is Nine Inch Nails. After turning his back on the music project that had taken him to unprecedented heights of success throughout the nineties and noughties, Reznor returns with his Nine Inch Nails cohorts to put on a high octane, and deliciously malevolent Arena show.
Reznor has always been a master at treading the thin line between Arena excess and something influenced by references of a more sinister nature (Bondage, Taxidermy, Death etc.), taking his bleak, but ever so danceable music to levels most of his rivals could only dream of (sorry Marilyn Manson, you were ever so slightly too focussed on Fascist leaders and Goth-like melodrama to beat the man who made you). Tonight is no different.
Armed with classic line up member Robin Finck, Alessandro Cortini & former Lostprophets drummer (although, he’s probably scratched that from his CV for obvious reasons) Ilan Rubin, as well as a high tech digital screen to display the stunning AV Show and be used as a set piece to separate between full band pieces and when the band gather round the Synths and Samplers for the more electronic numbers. It’s always hard to fill the O2 stage when you’re just a four piece, but with Trent’s recognised stage persona (lots of poses like he’s squatting before taking a dump whilst holding the Mic) is the perfect foil to grab everyone’s attention, whilst the band get on with the job at hand and the AV show delivers some stunning moments in tune with the music being performed.
The classics are played (‘Head Like A Hole’, ‘Closer’, ‘Hurt’ and ‘The Hand That Feeds’ steal the show, as always) with aplomb, whilst interspersing some great curve balls (‘The Frail/The Wretched’ and ‘Sanctified’ especially) throughout the set, but I just didn’t feel the material from new LP ‘Hesitation Marks’ worked in such a large venue. Whilst I appreciate the dark and sexy electronic influences on his latest material, the Dubstep FX and band members huddled around some Synths just felt a bit muted and not improved in the live arena. This is a small quibble (and something no self-respecting band would do, not play the new material to promote their latest release) when you consider that only a couple of years ago many of us thought we’d never get to witness the Dark Lord in the live arena again, so one last time… All hail the dark lord. Thanks to the wondrous Scott for getting us in!!!