Nine Inch Nails Rexall Place, Edmonton, Alberta November 24, 2013
Setlist: 1. “Copy of A” 2. “1,000,000” 3. “Terrible Lie” 4. “March of the Pigs” 5. “Piggy” 6. “All Time Low” 7. “Disappointed” 8. “Come Back Haunted” 9. “Find My Way” 10. “Various Methods of Escape” 11. “The Frail” 12. “The Wretched” 13. “I Would for You” 14. “Survivalism” 15. “Running” 16. “A Warm Place” 17. “Somewhat Damaged” 18. “Wish” 19. “The Hand That Feeds” 20. “Head Like A Hole” Encore: 21. “The Day the World Went Away” 22. “Even Deeper” 23. “While I’m Still Here” 24. “Black Noise” 25. “Hurt”
When I bought tickets to see Nine Inch Nails a few months back, it was almost out of curiosity more than anything. Trent Reznor had abandoned his masterpiece project of industrial beats, thought provoking lyrics, and musical complexity for several years, when all of the sudden he announced that it was back with a new album and tour. Just like many people, I was concerned that Reznor had done the unthinkable, and resurrected the project as a money grab, and with none of the passion and care that Nine Inch Nails deserves. While admittedly not getting as much out of the new album “Hesitation Marks” as I had hoped, after seeing NIN take the stage last night, any hesitation marks of my own were quickly dismissed.
The show was opened by LA’s Autolux, the same Sonic Youth-meets-Kraftwerk band that Reznor took on tour in 2005 for the “With Teeth” tour. The group wasn’t bad, with the shining star coming from drummer Carla Azar, who was a tight, heavy hitting percussionist who claimed my attention through the entirety of their 30min set.
Before I discuss Nine Inch Nails and Reznor’s performance, I give a huge hand to the sound technician, lighting designer, and lighting technicians. On the lighting side, the show was absolutely stunning, combining lasers, LED lighting, 3 individually LED lit screens, 15 groups of 9 lights above the band, and countless other things I missed. The light show was beautiful, and I was enthralled completely. As far as the sound, as an amateur DJ and having done some audio mixing before, I was amazed by the work that the sound technician did. The sound was perfectly balanced throughout the entire show, which was no easy feat considering the instruments that graced the stage. At last roll call, I counted 7 mics, 4 guitars, a bass, a full drum kit, a theremin, bongos, a saxophone, 3 keyboards, and 4 synthesizers.
The band itself put on an incredible show. The staggering 25 song set had only one break, which separated the encore from the main show. The rest of the songs were played in rapid succession, with no more than the occasional “Thank you” from Trent Reznor. Nine Inch Nails’ touring band was top notch, with not a single faltering member. The line up consisted of Josh Eustis (Telefon Tel Aviv), Pino Palladino (The Who, John Mayer Trio), Lisa Fischer, Sharlotte Gibson, and former NIN members Alessandro Cortini, Ilan Rubin and Robin Finck.
The set included nods to the crowd favourites, as well as tracks off the new album, including “Copy of A”, “Disappointed”, and “Black Noise” among others. The high points of the set were spread throughout, never allowing the crowd to calm down, instead bombarding them with tracks like “Survivalism”, “Come Back Haunted”, “Head Like a Hole”, and the show closing “Hurt”. These songs perfectly gelled the intensity and skill of the band with the stunning visual effects.
When taken all together, the show was absolutely amazing, and landed amongst the top of the list for the best shows I have ever seen. While I am usually a huge fan of moments when performing bands interact with the audience, I found myself so enamored with the lighting and music of the show, that I barely noticed that we didn’t hear Trent speak until there were only 2 songs left in the night. It was one of the rare moments that I am completely left speechless during a show.
"That’s not him," I said, casually scrolling past a photo of Dee Radkey on Facebook.
I had been searching for someone my boyfriend had met at a show a few months ago hoping to get in contact. We’d been searching for weeks and weeks with no luck. The only lead we had on this person was that they were connected to local punk pioneers, Death.
Dee Radkey fit the physical description and connection to Death. But it was no dice.
I closed the browser and fired up Spotify to see Dee Radkey’s face on the banner ad at the bottom of the page in one of the most bizarre moments of my life.
Confused and in a state of disbelief, I clicked the ad to find out more.
In some kind of cosmic series of events, I found myself overwhelmed with a combination of sounds I’d only dreamt of mixing together in one band.
A spoonful of Lunachicks, a dash of Julian Casablancas, a sprinkling of Danzig, a hint of Ben McMillan vocality, and the right amount of cues from Local H, The Ramones, and Coffin Break- and this is what you get. A heavily melodic punk band that is as technically appealing as it is catchy. Already on the receiving end of comparisons to bands like Nirvana and guitarists like Hendrix- these three brothers are going places, starting with Jools Holland.
I don’t know what comes as more of a surprise. The voice that comes out of Dee, lead singer, or the guitar styling he dishes out in the latter half of this video of Cat & Mouse from their Cat & Mouse EP.
Charismatic, confident, talented, and armed with the kind of artistic emotion that musicians twice their age are begging to channel, if you’re not listening to this band, then what the hell are you doing?
Intense Reality are a pop punk band from Central Alberta, Canada. They have been together for over 5 years, and are passionate about their music. I have had the unique experience of being able to watch them grow as people and as a band since their first shows. They just finished recording their debut album, and are planning to release it in early 2014, once the mixing progress is complete. Keep an eye out for these guys.
I had to cut the song because it was too large a file, but I will post it after.
The February of 2011 ended a fairy tale for Arcade Fire. From acclaimed baroque indie-act established on the back of the excellent Funeral , the band reached a culmination of a adhoc trilogy in The Suburbs which took top honor at the 53rd Grammys.Arcade climbed the summit the long way round; an album every 3 years, and a seal of quality on every one. But in the aftermath of their February win, Arcade Fire was left with a bronze imitation horn in their hands and a more pressing question of where to next on their minds.
Today is a sad day for music lovers the world round; we have lost Lou Reed. One to always subvert, Lou Reed is one of the most important people of the last century. He never really became a household name, but he has floated into the right basements and bedrooms of future artistic minds for decades. The punk before anyone kicked out the jams or bopped. A true visionary, genre-agnostic artist.
If you’re thinking of listening to that In Utero reissue, trying to get tickets to the Pixies tour, or are excited for Arcade Fire’s record next week, you should take time to thank Lou. Without him entire genres wouldn’t exist, legions of oddball progeny wouldn’t have been influenced, and the word alternative may have just meant disco.
Thank you, Lou. You’ve done more for us than we might ever know.