Nine Inch Nails / Atari Teenage Riot
Brixton Academy
29/11/99 and 1/12/99

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 easily.
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 about them.
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 UNHIP