So yesterday i went to see Nine Inch Nails play at the Palacio De los Deportes (better know as the Palacio De los Rebotes, spanish for “Palace Of The Bounces”, because the sound quality of the place); to be honest, this was a show i have been waiting for some 10 years now, ever since i listened to my Downward Spiral tape for the 18th time and finally got it, i finally heard and understood what this band was all about and thought the whole studio thing plus the aggression of the music was pure genius; really, i’m surprised how big a NIN fan i turned out to be, especially during The Fragile period (odd, eh?), i picked up the “The Day The World Went Away” single the week it came out and everything; between 1999 and 2000, chances were that of every three records i listened to in any period between those two years, The Fragile would be one of them, i thought it was masterful, and thought people were retarded for not getting it. So it was long overdue that i finally got to see them live, which was their first ever mexican date.
So i arrive a little past 8:30 (scheduled gate-opening hour) and went straight to the bathroom (hour long drive+downing a bottle of coke), then went to my seat, which was in section C, three levels above the floor; the Dresden Dolls were already playing to a very approving crowd. Now, the Dresden Dolls are kinda like a so so campy cabaret goth non band, sort of like Gems Of Masochism-era Antioch Arrow but using just electric piano and drums and not as good or as off kilter, I caught the end of one song after they announced that the following was dedicated to “the president...Mr George Bush”; since their mix was awful and i couldn’t hear the piano, i didn’t get what they were playing, only after they played a two chord riff just to let a hi hat counting and opening at an odd time did i understand they were playing Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs”; by the crowd reaction, i could tell they found out about the song at the same time as myself; it sounded great for one reason: the drummer is amazing!! He has the whole Keith Moon/Bill Ward style down and that’s the reason you couldn’t hear the piano, the drums were that dominant; the best part of the cover was when the piano was left alone towards the end and the girl lead singer started playing Tony Iommi’s solos on the piano, great interpretation. The rest of the songs were ok with awesome drumming, they said that after Nine Inch Nails’ set, they would be outside signing stuff, i bet from the crowd reception, the turnout would be big.
The place was packed, and full of guys and girls, metalheads and punks, goths and regular kids, lots of kids actually, i didn’t think Nine Inch Nails would remain this relevant but it seems they have; the floor had numbered seats (unlike the US part of the tour), and people were expecting, waiting to be blown away. Then, a few minutes after 10:00 pm, the lights went out; “Pinion” started to kick thru the house PA and it only meant one thing, in something like NIN’s take on the classic Judas Priest opening combo of “The Hellion” and “Electric Eye”, the band then inmidiatedly lauched into “Wish”, the crowd went nuts (and a true highlight for me); to my surprise, Jeordie White, Trent and Aaron North all played guitar in that song, no bass, something that happened a few times afterwards during the set. The band then launched into “Sin”, again crowd approval. The band were playing very close to the recorded versions of the songs and the stage set up was very minimal, a wall of colored lines in the back and some “light trees” at each end of the stage; the band picked the pace up again with “March Of The Pigs”, then they played “Something I Can Never Have” which surprised the shit out of everyone, but people still lit up their cigarrette lighters and sang along, the band kicked it up again by following immediatly into “The Hand That Feeds” and “Terrible Lie”, in which Trent dropped the mic stand by the end of the song, smacked the guitar on the floor and fell into the space between the barricade and the stage.
Something that made the show and the band even better was, in my opinion, Aaron North; coming from the Icarus Line you wouldn’t expect it, but Aaron is a grade A arena rock guitarist, he regularly shook his guitar violently, ran across the stage incesantly, jumped off risers and calmly paced around the stage whenever he wasn’t playing; he brought a personality that otherwise wouldn’t be present. Trent is a good frontman, but he’s more into projecting the drama of the lyrics he is presenting than to give a show to the people (at least, that is the case in this show). The band spewed hit after hit, some cult favorites, others massively known, like “Closer” which got a huge sing along; they played songs ranging from favorites off the Broken EP (a personal favorite lately, good thing they played a lot of it) to some of The Fragile’s most rocking (“The Wretched”, “No, You Don’t”) to non –album songs (Natural Born Killers soundtrack’s Burn and their cover of Joy Division’s “Dead Souls” which was awesome). The whole thing in general got better as things moved towards the end, “The Day The World Went Away” got a fantastic response from the crowd and sounded particularly crude and exciting, it featured a slower build-up that got help from the crowd clapping a basic beat and lighting lighters in rhythm and into the outro “na na na” singalong; “Piggy” got a beefed up heavy final part, “Hurt” got an expected singalong from the crowd that was still cool (i would have liked to hear a bit of electro+distortion drone improv at the end of the song but it didn’t happen); “Starfuckers Inc.” was frenetic and brutal, with a surprising singalong response and Trent breaking the song up before going überaggro on the “You’re So Vain” adaptation in said song to tell the crowd how awesome it was playing playing, he even mentioned Mexico was the best crowd ever (yeah, total Spinal Tap shit) and how they meant to come here so long before but that it was good that it was finally happening and then he went on to scream the shit out of the “don’t you”’s at the end of the song. Then they launched into “Head Like A Hole”, midway thru the song, Jeordie (formerly known as Twiggy Ramirez) and Aaron switched guitars and, as the song approched an ending, Aaron took his micstand and threw it to the drumset, then went on to climb a huge set of speaker cabinets, guitar and all, with the intention of throwing the thing to the section i was in (i was far from the tip where this was happening) but soon realized it was a bad idea, so he threw it to the stage and jumped; Trent threw stands and his guitar, Aaron then took a stand and smacked his amp with it, then he took his guitar and threw it to the side of the stage, the crowd was screaming their heads off while feedback was going on from three guitars thrown and left there, then the sound was killed, the lights went on and it was over; no encore, no bullshit, plain rock. Soon after the lights went on, the PA begins to play what to me became an encore: Spiritualized’s “I Think I’m In Love”, i was quite pleased with this song so i just took my seat and enjoyed the strayed notes as people urged to the exits.
Pinion/ Wish/ Sin/ The Line Begins To Blur/ March Of The Pigs/ Something I Can Never Have/ The Hand That Feeds/ Terrible Lie/ Burn/ Closer-The Only Time/ Home/ The Frail/ The Wretched/ Reptile/ Love Is Not Enough/ Suck/ No, You Don't/ Dead Souls/ Gave Up/ Piggy/ The Day The World Went Away/ Hurt/ You Know What You Are?/ Starfuckers, Inc./ Head Like A Hole
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