In today’s political climate it’s nice to have music to turn to that shares the sentiment that all has gone to shit. Nine Inch Nails has had our backs through all the worst times in life since the late 1980’s. Fortunately, Trent Reznor decided that their farewell tour of 2009 was more of a see ya later tour. This year Nine Inch Nails has been back out on the road with their “Cold and Black and Infinite North American 2018” tour which is ending with six sold-out nights at the Hollywood Palladium. It’s nice to know if we are nearing a dystopian future the soundtrack will be awesome and the underground clubs will be fantastic as long as the world has NIN.
Tuesday night was not a look to future however but a journey back to the end of the last millennium with the set list jumping almost exclusively between 1989’s Pretty Hate Machine, 1992’s Broken and 1994’s The Downward Spiral. Nine Inch Nails performance was complete with grungy-feeling-old-recording-tape draped over every mic and gear stand, as well as dripping from the rafters and lighting rigs. Combined with an excessive amount of haze, the decor gave the rounded Palladium the feeling of an underground cave … an underground cave with a state of the art psychedelic blinding and hypnotic lighting system that is. The lighting design was truly spectacular ramping up to more and more mind numbing strobes and color shifts as the show’s intensity grew to the point it felt like one’s brain was being reset. Reznor along with Atticus Ross, Alessandro Cortini, Robin Fink on guitar and a relentlessly heavy hitting Ilan Rubin on drums worked the crowd of life long fans (the front row had been waiting since 7am and had plans to get back in line as soon as the show was over) into a sweaty ecstatic frenzy.
The show opened with a somewhat strange paring of overly aggressive, perhaps trying too hard HTMLTD followed by uber nonplussed mellow makers The Jesus and Mary Chain. Reznor took time to thank the audience in the four song encore before he covered Joy Division’s Dead Souls one of 3 covers performed. It was however the 22 songs of old existential favorites that were stuck in everyone’s head as they happily headed home.
Nine Inch Nails play their final sold-out show at the Hollywood Palladium on Saturday, Dec. 15. You can grab resale tickets here.
Words & Photography: ZB Images