March 26, 2010
The Palladium, Hollywood
The last time I saw a line wrap around The Hollywood Palladium the way it did before doors opened for the Nico Vega/Codeine Velvet Club/Metric show, Nine Inch Nails was playing.
There are some bands I will continue to write about; Nico Vega is one of them. It was great to see such a sizable crowd arrive early to see “the opening band.” That’s only in quotes because Nico Vega is much more than an opening band, and the next time they play The Hollywood Palladium, I expect that they’ll be headlining.
Their set was too short. Yet, within that compact set, fans were treated to more energy, fire, and great music than you often experience during another band’s full set. Aja Volkman can sing, scream, and thrash around on stage, with grace. Both women and men seem to admire her combination of ferocity and poise. The only people who didn’t know how to receive Volkman were Palladium security whom, upon seeing Aja balance on the rail to sing amongst the crowd, looked as if they were going to go into cardiac arrest.
Dan = drums
Dan Epand used to play drums. He’s since become the drums. Whereas he used to hit the drums and cymbals to create the sound, now his body is merely a more flexible extension of the drum kit. He levitates off his seat each time he strikes the drum. There’s an illusion that Epand has really long arms as he extends the drumsticks well overhead before hitting the next beat. I watched him walk off stage after their set because I expected the entire drum kit to move with him. Epand, whom some may mistake as the shy quiet one, has become an animal on the drums. Just remember – the “quiet” ones are usually the most fun.
While Volkman is climbing, jumping, twirling, writhing, and flawlessly singing, Rich Koehler is doing the equivalent, balanced with cool restraint, while playing guitar. Koehler may not be wireless yet, but that guitar cable does not restrain him from jetting around the stage, often in playful musical conversation with Volkman.
All of this is happening while the crowd sings all the words, jumps, and screams for more. The audience was ready for this show – they responded as if they had been craving Nico Vega for a very long time. And that’s indeed possible. Nico Vega represents all that’s cool, sexy, smart, raw, edgy, kind, authentic, strong, and graceful. You may find yourself feeling anxious between Nico Vega shows as you await your next “fix” (I often do). Nico Vega – the 100% legal drug – just say “Yes!”
September 2, 2009
Wave Goodbye Tour
It’s not often that the better a show is, the sadder the audience gets. But such is the case when Nine Inch Nails takes the stage for one of the last times ever.
Nine Inch Nails is one of the best bands in the world. Even if you don’t like their music, you can’t deny how amazing they are. Well, you can deny it, but somebody will likely slap the $h!t out of you.
Tonight marked the first of four intimate NIN shows in Los Angeles. This is also the fourth to the last show Nine Inch Nails will ever play live (hopefully they change their mind about that in a couple years). I’m still somewhat speechless so please forgive the brevity.
They could have played anything and I would have been happy. As they did at New York’s Webster Hall, they played The Downward Spiral in its entirety and everybody was happy.
On another note, NIN just sent a Tweet announcing that Thursday’s show at Henry Fonda is canceled, making tonight’s show at The Palladium the third to the last NIN show ever (hopefully they’ll make it for the remaining two!). Trent did mention that he was sick and couldn’t hear anything when he was performing tonight. But if he hadn’t said something, we wouldn’t have known it. He played and sounded great, 2 solid hours, no break. The announcement on the band’s website says Trent’s doctor advised that he not play the next show. “Reimbursement details will be posted as soon as we figure them out…” Fans will want more than their money back – this is an experience that they’ve been anticipating for months and one that they may not have another chance to partake in. People were already lined up outside the Fonda at 6:30pm tonight for tomorrow’s show (well, today’s show given the current hour). I feel even more blessed to have been at the Palladium for this show and hope Trent feels better soon… soon enough to play NIN’s scheduled shows Saturday and Sunday.
Speaking of the Palladium, prior to this show, I refused to go to that venue for many years. I had seen a handful of shows there (before Live Nation purchased it) and the sound was always awful. They also used to search you as if you were entering a maximum security prison. And when you got inside it kind of felt like one. Now I know there are times to get upset when big corporations step in and take over a venue, but this isn’t one of them. The sound system has been upgraded exponentially and you can walk through the front doors without feeling violated.
Bow down before the one you serve
Back to Nine Inch Nails. I can’t pick out one highlight. The entire show was a highlight. Just being there, in a small venue (capacity: 4,000), watching one of my favorite bands perform some of my favorite songs and being able to see the sweat drip off them while they moved around the stage. As usual NIN sounded great and I think everybody who was there felt like they were part of something very special. I’m not sure anybody’s feet touched the ground for longer than a few seconds — the crowd was moving and jumping non-stop. I got some video (see below) of Trent introducing Gary Numan and talking about his influence on the sound of Nine Inch Nails. Gary performed “Metal” and “Cars” with the band and the crowd went (even more) insane.
Hopefully Trent is well enough to play The Wiltern on Saturday and The Echoplex on Sunday. Hopefully you can make it to one of those shows because this is not to be missed. But just in case you’re missing this tour, here are some videos from the show at the Palladium:
March of The Pigs
Head Like A Hole
Trent introducing Gary Numan & his influence on NIN’s music
Mr. Self Destruct
Gary Numan & NIN perform “Cars”
More videos from this show can be found here: NIN Live at Palladium (videos)
Get well, Trent. We want to see you again this weekend!
Doesn't it make you feel better?