NIN @ THE HOLLYWOOD PALLADIUM

September 14th, 2009 |

Nine Inch Nails is the type of band that just doesn’t need much of an introduction. I mean, let’s face it, they’ve been around forever. Remember back when they opened for Hendrix? Shit was INSANE. Well, ok, I’m exaggerating a little bit. Let’s narrow it down to, say, a 20-year career? Sound good? I was 3 years old when it all began. Holy shit. After that much time building the NIN Empire, it’s no surprise Trent Reznor wants to take a rest and end touring under the name Nine Inch Nails. Who knows, maybe five years from now he’ll start a new project by the name Trenty Moondust. Until then, Los Angeles gets the last four NIN shows ever.  Palladium, Echoplex, Henry Fonda & Wiltern.

Enter…The Palladiun, nestled right across the street from the Nickelodeon studios in Hollywood, CA. By the time I arrived, the line for entry literally surrounded the entire block. This makes sense, as the venue holds a small but hefty headcount of four thousand people.

Opening the night was a somewhat new artist by the name Queen Kwong. Front-woman Carré Callaway had the pleasure of opening for NIN a few years ago under her solo name, and this time around was able to showcase some rock-induced tunes under the band name Queen Kwong, who reside locally in the Silverlake area. To say everyone was focused on seeing NIN would be an understatement, however the audience’s reaction to Queen Kwong was nothing short of great. Their mix of alternative guitar riffs, tender yet aggressive vocals, coupled along with gorgeous harmonies from a violin and cello left me in a good mood for the rest of the night. Hopefully another big name will take them on the road soon, as they definitely have the wings for this flight called the music biz.

Next to hit the stage are the Danish darlings in Mew, who celebrated the release of their fifth studio album just a few weeks ago on Sony BMG. Their stage presence is always something to enjoy, as they rely strongly on visual stimulants that are projected onto a white backdrop right behind everyone in the band. This leads to not only a beautiful sound, but also a mesmerizing experience.

And lastly, Nine Inch Nails! When your catalog spans 20 years, how do you pick and choose which songs make the setlist? Simple, play an entire album. That is exactly what Nine Inch Nails did when they entered the stage a little after 8:30 PM. When “Piggy” was played directly after “Mr. Self Destruct,” I pondered to myself—could this really be happening? Are they going to play the Downward Spiral in its entirety? Sure enough, they did. All fourteen tracks from the album were played from start to finish. For someone like me who became a fan due to this album, it was a surreal experience to witness it live.

If that weren’t enough to make the night orgasmic, how about throwing a real, live, Gary Numan into the mix? Yea, that happened, too. Introduced as one of the founding influences to his sound, Trent Reznor seemed just as excited as everyone else in the audience who grew up listening to Numan’s work. Prior to embracing in a bro-hug, the two main-men threw stunning renditions of “Metal” and “Cars” into an already amazing set list. Aside from these few instances, the night thereafter mostly consisted of other NIN classics such as “Gave Up,” “Burn,” and “Hurt.”

Assuming you attended this concert, I congratulate you for witnessing NIN-history. If you missed it, I’m deeply sorry.

John Hughes