Nine Inch Nails are one of the biggest names in the Industrial music scene. Known for their unique blend of dark synth pop with basslines and fronted by one man powerhouse Trent Reznor. Since their comeback album Hesitation Marks was released in 2013 the band have been touring again, and (obviously) they came to the UK. Hearing they get a good live reputation I thought it would be a good chance to check them out. So how was the gig?


First thing to say was that this was the first time I would be gigging alone, and experience I thought would be good prior to Download festival. I arrived in good time so I decided to straightaway get a T-Shirt. I went for the one with the band logo on, simple but effective. After that I decided to go to one of the snack shops, get myself a latte and a cake and have a sit down. Once that was finished I headed into the arena in time for the support band Cold Cave. Consisting of a leather clad dude with sunglasses (huh, kinda like me) and a chick on the keyboards the band sounded a lot like Nine Inch Nails. With some pulse pounding tunes and the lead singer’s on stage swagger they worked as an appetiser and were overall enjoyable to watch. Once they were done I got changed into my new shirt before heading back into the arena for the main event.


As the lights go down the audience awaits the arrival of Nine Inch Nails. They open up with Me I’m Not. Not being familiar with their Year Zero album I didn’t recognise it. The first song I recognised was Copy of A, the dark and melodic number from their latest album. Trent Reznor was still as solid as ever on vocals and occasionally guitar, and the band he got to play with him all did well in their respective roles. With a wide library of albums and songs to play they had a nice selection of new songs and old favourites from the angry thrash anthem of March of the Pigs to the dark bass groove of Sanctified. A particular highlight was Closer for it’s funky sounding tune and use of synths and red lighting.


Speaking of the lighting that was another big part of the show was the production lighting. Just because a band sings dark songs doesn’t mean they don’t believe in light. The use of lighting made for a colourful affair, but did mean I needed sunglasses in a dark room. Also their gigs are not recommended for epileptic people because of all the strobe effects. Whilst the earlier songs were all enjoyable in my opinion they saved their best ones for the end. Wish was the one I was most excited to hear them play and it lived up to my expectations. Never has saying “Fist F***” felt so satisfying. After that came other fan favourites like The Hand that Feeds, Head Like a Hole and the traditional closing song Hurt. After the show I was surprised to see that my mate Jordan was there. Turns out he went as one of those last minute decisions after his mate got him a ticket.


So was there anything wrong with the show? Well even though Trent Reznor is very talented as a musician he didn’t interact with the audience much. I guess to him the show comes first, fair enough. As their song library is huge favourite songs getting cut from the setlist was always going to be inevitable. Whilst they played my big favourites I would’ve also liked Terrible Lie and The Frail/The Wretched to be played as well. Still the important factor was I enjoyed the gig and the first time experience of going alone. After all these years and even with Trent’s amount of side projects Nine Inch Nails are still going good and strong. Just don’t expect them to come to Reading and Leeds again.

  1. Dan says:

    Awesome gig. One the best I`ve been to. I think it was pretty close to perfection in terms of performance and the set list was awesome, although there are a few I would also have loved to have seen, but with their huge back catalogue, and just 20 songs to pick, it was nigh on impossible to hear everything. Survilalism in particular sounded awesome!

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