There can surely be no doubt as to the brilliance of
NIN newie 'The Fragile', but whereas the album can only be
fully appreciated (and has greatest impact ) when experienced in it's
entirety, whether songs from the album will manage to sit comfortably
alongside older material remained to be seen, these gigs being the perfect
forum to placate such fears.
The hype surrounding Reznor's first UK jaunt in four years has been
nigh on unbearable and having to watch Atari Teenage Riot is one last
test of faith.
On album, ATR appear vaguely coherent, even memorable
in places, but their performance on these two occasions won't be forgotten
And not because they were fantastic or anything, but because they sucked.
Bad. Actually, they sucked badder than bad, fully justifying the many
'boo's they received from an audience that really couldn't give a toss
Whatever your opinions on white noise and strobe lighting, a constant
barrage of the two over the span of 30 minutes is never pleasant and
should be reserved as a method of torture, their 'performance!' being
more than enough to induce near coma in this reviewer, and a swift retreat
to the bar ensued.
As the intro to 'Pinion' plays over the PA,
the crowd surge forward to greet opening track 'Somewhat Damaged',
the place going hyper in reaction to the sight of the man, Reznor. Dressed
down in combats and
T-shirt, he looks disturbingly human, managing to further increase the
belief that NIN are FOR REAL, unlike other supposed (Antichrist) Superstars.
Not a lot has changed since the last time they were here, Reznor is
joined by Robin Finck (guitar / keyboards) to his left, Danny Lohner
(guitar/bass / keyboards) to his right, Charlie Clouser on keyboards
and theremin and drummer Jerome Dillon (replacing Chris Vrenna), the
only new addition to tonight's line-up. With a good sound mix, it isn't
long before the classics 'Sin', 'Wish' and 'March Of
The Pigs' are rolled out for our further enjoyment, urging the crowd
to grow even more hysterical.
Mid-way through the set, a giant film screen descends, showing images
of bobbing waves and schools of fish, it's the perfect compliment to
the moody, climactic tracks 'La Mer' and 'The Great Below'.
As the screen rises, we're back onto a greatest hits tour de force,
'Closer', a load more I can't remember and finishing off with
a caustic 'Head Like A Hole', at the pinnacle of which Clouser destroys
one of his keyboards (yes, both nights).
As the band reappear for the encore, a rollicking version of 'Starfuckers,
Inc.' precedes a hauntingly beautiful 'Hurt', and it is here
that the NIN paradox / recipe is most clear. Reznor writes songs that
are so deeply personal, yet so suitably ambiguous as to appeal to the
masses without losing any trace of credibility. Brilliant!
Both Monday's and Wednesday's shows were nothing short
of triumphant, the seemless blending of tracks both old and new, justifying
Reznor's lofty position.
Trent, I should never have doubted you... just don't leave it so long
next time ok?
gileZ Editor Of fashionably