Update: For those who missed Nine Inch Nails’ concert Wednesday night’s show at Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield, the band released a video from the performance. It was recording during the set’s opening numbers – “Branches/Bones” and “Copy of A.”
It was midway through a Nine Inch Nails set before the band stopped long enough for frontman Trent Reznor to really address the crowd.
Even then, it was only for a quick thank you.
“OK, let’s play some more,” he said, before exploding into the band’s 1994 single “Burn.”
Nine Inch Nails returned to the stage Wednesday night after three years, playing Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield, of all places, for an early access performance – a tune-up show, in advance of festival season and specifically Los Angeles’ FYF Fest, which the band headlines Sunday.
“We’ve been holed up in a cave making albums and scores,” Reznor said. The latest – “Add Violence” – is out Friday.
If there is any rust to knock off, it didn’t show.
Nine Inch Nails visually stunned – at times, quite literally stunned – with a 75-minute set that was equally stark and minimal (especially early on, when stage hands walked among the band shining handheld spotlights) and explosively overwhelming. The lighting production oscillated between a blackened stage and one lit with a flood of light.
It fits the band sonic dynamics – the 1998 track “Head Like a Hole,” for example, which the band used to close out the set. It came back to play “Hurt.” While NIN is known for its brooding mid-tempo angst, the band was at its best when it was in full-on industrial rage mode on songs like “March of the Pigs” and “Gave Up.”
The set included a cover of David Bowie’s “I Can’t Give Everything Away,” which the band recorded (but never released) after the singer’s death last year.
▪ Black Moth Super Rainbow front man Thomas Fec opened the concert as his electronic alter ego Tobacco. He sat cross-legged at the front of the stage, playing bass and singing modulated vocals over disjointed ambient noise that coalesced into songs in only the loosest sense of the word. It’s trippy electronic music set to even trippier visual montages, including a Michael Myers-style Michael Jackson mask, complete with red lipstick that I will never unsee.
▪ Though the show was reported as sold-out, there were lots of empty seats just before NIN took the stage. Those seats were filled by song three.
▪ It was definitely sold-out if judged by the crowds piled at the exits trying to score one of the free posters being handed out.
▪ I appreciate Trent Reznor’s use of a mic stand. He is underrated as a frontman.
- Copy of A
- Less Than
- March of The Pigs
- The Frail
- The Wretched
- Parasite (How to Destroy Angels)
- Gave Up
- I Can’t Give Everything Away (David Bowie)
- The Lovers
- The Great Destroyer
- Burning Bright (Field On Fire)
- The Hand That Feeds
- Head Like A Hole