Tag Archives: Robin Finck

Nine Inch Nails at The Troubadour

September 3, 2013
The Troubadour, Los Angeles, CA

Nine Inch Nails Trent Reznor At The TroubadourWithout knowing what shape, nor time, nor place it would happen, I’d been anticipating this night for four years. ”I won’t let you down,” Trent Reznor assured everyone during Nine Inch Nails’ final show of the Wave Goodbye Tour, on September 10, 2009.

True to his word, Reznor has not disappointed. During the Nine Inch Nails “hiatus”, Reznor brilliantly scored 2 soundtracks, one of which landed him an Oscar. He also co-created How To Destroy Angels with his wife, Mariqueen Maandig, which included one of the most visually impressive productions I’ve witnessed. Rather than continuously churning out albums and tours as Nine Inch Nails, Reznor recognized he needed a break, focusing on other creative and personal endeavors. The creative freedom and perspective gained from his Nine Inch Nails “break” (arguably one of the most productive “breaks” on record), was evident during Tuesday night’s show.

NIN Troubadour MarqueeFor all in attendance, the Nine Inch Nails show at The Troubadour was a story of miracles.

Listening to the crowd prior to the show, provided hours of “how I got in” stories. One woman was determined to win tickets for her boyfriend, so he could see his favorite band on his birthday. Another woman described her meticulous strategy for winning tickets from radio stations, including the theory that land lines provide a better chance of winning than mobile phones. People described how they enlisted co-workers, friends, and relatives to help them pound the phones each time a KROQ DJ announced “one lucky caller” would win a pair of tickets.

Prior to the show, a man worked the line, offering people $800 a ticket. Perhaps he did eventually make his way in, but from what I saw, observing the first 100 people in line, he was met with one consistent response: silence and a definitive shake of the head, “no.” Money can buy a lot of things, but it can’t replace a once-in-a-lifetime Nine Inch Nails experience.

Everybody in attendance recognized and deeply appreciated the fact that they were seeing Nine Inch Nails at The Troubadour, an intimate venue, with rich history. The atmosphere prior to the show was gracious, celebratory, and invigorating. People didn’t wait until the show began to enjoy the experience. They’d been enjoying this night since the moment they knew they would be among a mere couple hundred people who would see Nine Inch Nails play The Troubadour.

Troubadour StageA few minutes prior to 8:30pm, the energy inside the venue shifted. There was a collective understanding that this was the time to take care of any last minute needs or desires. People worked together, taking turns buying t-shirts, drinks, and making their final bathroom run of the evening.

When Nine Inch Nails hit the stage, it was explosive. Kicking the set off with “Somewhat Damaged”, the band and the crowd took the energy to otherworldly levels. The sound – despite its high volume – was crystal clear. There was no unintended distortion. The sound being as perfect as it was, I neglected to wear earplugs.

Yep, there were lights.

Yep, there were lights.

I wish I could describe what it felt like to be at The Troubadour when Nine Inch Nails played. We may have been inside a small venue, but from a production standpoint, this was no little show. One third of the balcony appeared to be taken over by the band’s equipment. When the show began, the neon “Troubadour” light behind the stage was dimmed. The audience was transported to a place they’d never been, even if they’d previously seen Nine Inch Nails a hundred times before.

That is among the reasons Nine Inch Nails is widely lauded as one of the best (if not the best) live bands in the world. No matter how many times you see them, every experience is unique, and the definition of “perfection” evolves.

For me, what stands out most is how much Trent Reznor cares and how apparent that is in everything he does. This is his life, his art, his passion. He cares about the experience as a whole, that people continually walk away, as I do, drenched in sweat and nearly speechless. Every show is unique, surprising, and absolutely mind, spirit, and energy altering.

Prior to the show, people speculated about the set list. The majority of fans suspected the band would play the new album, Hesitation Marks, straight through. Some elaborated that, following the new songs, Nine Inch Nails would certainly play some of their older material. This is what happens to music fans’ expectations when Nine Inch Nails leaves the scene. We become accustomed to, and expect that, every show is about pushing a new album or promoting something else entirely. That is how most bands would do it. That is how nearly every band I’ve seen this year has done it. That is the format we’ve grown accustomed to and accept.

This is how Nine Inch Nails did it at The Troubadour:

1. Somewhat Damaged
2. The Beginning of the End
3. Terrible Lie
4. March of the Pigs
5. Piggy
6. The Line Begins to Blur
7. The Frail/ The Wretched
8. I’m Afraid of Americans (David Bowie cover)
9. Gave Up
10. Sanctified
11. Disappointed
12. The Warning
13. Find My Way
14. Came Back Haunted
15. Wish
16. Survivalism
17. Burn
18. The Hand That Feeds
19. Head Like a Hole
20. La Mer
21. Hurt

For those who are less familiar with Nine Inch Nails’ discography, that’s a 21-song set list, including a mere three songs from the new album.

Nine Inch Nails at The TroubadourIt almost seems as if Trent Reznor takes it as a personal responsibility to make people question – and raise – their expectations. Every time I see Nine Inch Nails I’m surprised, even though I shouldn’t be. They are my favorite band to see live. I know how good they are. I know what they’re capable of. Then, they remind me: no matter how much I think I know, no matter how high my expectations, Nine Inch Nails leaves me at a loss for words with their sheer brilliance and dedication.

Their energy never wanes. Likewise, there’s no ramp-up time. When the band first burst onto stage, I felt like I had been blown back twenty feet. There was a simultaneous sound and light explosion that removed the audience from whatever day it was, whatever they had been thinking about, wherever they were – physically and mentally – and transported them to another world.

NINSimilarly, for Nine Inch Nails, the encore isn’t when they play their “biggest hits” or “fan favorites.” NIN takes the word “encore” literally – “another.” They return to the stage for more of what they’ve done – a mind-blowing level of making people lose their shit.

In addition to his integrity and dedication, Reznor exudes gratitude. With everything they do, Nine Inch Nails’ recognition of their fans is expressed. I walk away from each Nine Inch Nails show with an overwhelming feeling that the band truly appreciates each of us; not because Reznor says “thank you” numerous times, but because of the show itself.

Nine Inch Nails kicks off their U.S. tour later this month. See them if you’re able: http://tour.nin.com/

Trent Reznor

NIN

NIN

Trent Reznor

Trent Reznor

NIN

Trent Reznor

t shirt

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Nine Inch Nails: Another Version Of The Truth

April 11, 2010
This One Is On Us
The Echoplex, Los Angeles

Nine Inch Nails: Another Version Of The Truth

Nine Inch Nails: Another Version Of The Truth

On Sunday night fans inside The Echoplex went off. The energy in the room was higher than what you’d see at many live concerts. But there was no concert at The Echoplex Sunday night. Instead, there was a screening of a live, fan-created, Nine Inch Nails DVD project: Another Version of The Truth. This is among the most energetic live concert DVDs ever produced, which is not hurt by the fact that it features one of  the (if not the) best live bands in the world, Nine Inch Nails.

Here’s some background on the project as posted on the official website, ThisOneIsOnUs.org:
On 5th May, 2008, Nine Inch Nails released “The Slip” for free via their website, as a gift to their fans. Or as Trent Reznor put it: “This one’s on me”.

On December 13th, 2008, dozens of Nine Inch Nails fans recorded the last show ofthe Lights In The Sky tour at Planet Hollywood, Las Vegas.

On January 7th, 2009, over 400Gb of video from the Victoria, Portland and Sacramento shows from the same tour were unofficially released by the band.

By working together, the Nine Inch Nails fan community have created “Another Version of the Truth” – a 3 disc release bringing together numerous editors, designers, and web programmers to create a professional digital film, followed by a physical release created by fans for fans.

NIN AVOTT

NIN AVOTT

For the past twenty plus years Nine Inch Nails has consistently pushed the boundaries, done things their way, maintained their integrity and the art of what they do, and in the process, have built a trusting and enduring relationship with their fans. Another Version of The Truth is one result of this relationship and should be an inspiration to bands and fans — this is how good it can get. This is what happens when you do it “right.”

March Of The Pigs

Every artist should strive for a fanbase as loyal and supportive as Nine Inch Nails fans.  Every music fan should be so moved by their favorite band that they will invest not only their money, but more important, their energy, their creativity, and their undying passion, in a long-term relationship with the band.  Every record label should pay attention. . . because this is what it’s about.  However, until labels figure out how to authentically build an enduring relationship between Artist and Fan (as opposed to getting in the way of it), thankfully there are bands like Nine Inch Nails and fan groups like This One Is On Us who know what they’re doing.

Head Like A Hole

Head Like A Hole

This One Is On Us did an amazing job with Another Version of The Truth.  It may be fan-created, but it is professional quality and absolutely brilliant.  They took hundreds of gigabytes of footage and created a piece that actually makes you feel like you’re at the show.  I am a live music junkie and I’ll be among the first to tell you that there’s no substitute for being there.  That said, I felt the drive, enthusiasm, and impact of the Nine Inch Nails Lights In The Sky tour – it felt like we were there.  The audience sang along, screamed along, cheered and clapped.  When I felt it was nearing the end, I actually got sad – I didn’t want it to end.  When it was over, I had that post Nine Inch Nails concert rush and “All That Could Have Been” was my soundtrack for the drive home.  If they truly don’t play live again and you never saw Nine Inch Nails, Another Version of The Truth will make you hate yourself for missing it.  For those of you who have seen NIN live, Another Version of The Truth will help you relive it.  I recommend watching it at least once a day.

Robin Finck

Robin Finck

The This One Is On Us organizers did an amazing job hosting this event.  The sound was great, the screen was placed at a perfect height so that the audience at the screening was watching from the same perspective as the audience at the concert.  When there were crowd shots, you were among them.  When the audience at the screening put their hands in the air, they were among the hands on the screen.  In fact, when I posted videos from the event on YouTube (see below), people emailed me asking if it was 3D.  The organizers secured The Echoplex for the screening which added to the energy of the event.  Nine Inch Nails played one of their final Wave Goodbye shows at The Echoplex last year.  You could still feel the energy of the band in the venue which added to Sunday’s event.

Nine Inch Nails Q and A

Finck, Cortini, Sheridan, Freese

As it turns out, several members of the band from the Lights In The Sky tour were in the venue and participated in a surprise Q&A following the screening.  Josh Freese, Robin Finck, and Alessandro Cortini sat on a panel and graciously answered audience questions about the tour, rehearsals, and the possibility of a reunion.  Rob Sheridan, Nine Inch Nails’ creative director, was also in the house to answer questions.  Sheridan shared a great deal of amazing information about the technology used on the tour, decisions that needed to be made based on budgets, what happened when things didn’t work, along with funny anecdotes about how Reznor and Freese worked with the technology.

Below are some videos of the screening itself.  Yes, that’s the audience at the screening singing, cheering and clapping along with the band and audience on screen.  Screenings of Another Version of The Truth are taking place around the world – check listings here.  And, since chances are Sheridan and the band may not show up at other screenings, I’ve also posted some clips from the Q&A.

There is another fan-created project to be on the lookout for as well: Nine Inch Nails: After All Is Said and Done, produced by A Tiny Little DotAfter All Is Said and Done will document Nine Inch Nails last show ever that took place at The Wiltern on September 10, 2009.  I was at that show (review, pics, set list and videos are posted here) and met the organizer of A Tiny Little Dot, “Synthetikz”.  He’s a really good guy who obtained some amazing footage. I posted the trailer below so you can see for yourself.

After All Is Said and Done Trailer:

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