Sunday, September 30, 2018

Nine Inch Nails/the Jesus & Mary Chain/Tobacco-9/27/18 Fox Theatre, Atlanta, GA

March 8, 1988 was the day I went to the Fox Theatre with my parents my younger sister Stephanie to see Linda Ronstadt when she was promoting her Mariachi album Canciones de mi Padre. I don’t remember much about the show other than Ronstadt singing songs from that album as it was entirely in Spanish yet the venue was tremendous. I haven’t been to the Fox Theatre since then as I have no idea why until this past May when I went to collect tickets to see Nine Inch Nails and the Jesus & Mary Chain in the second of two shows both bands are playing at the Fox Theatre making it my first time at the venue in 30 years.

Since this is the fifth time I will have seen NIN, I knew it was going to be a big deal yet at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta is an even bigger deal as they’re sharing the bill with the Jesus & Mary Chain whom NIN had opened for back in 1990. 28 years later, the two share the bill as arriving into the Fox Theatre around 6:40 PM as once I walked in. I went to a place that is very special. Other venues I went to have their moments but there is something about the Fox Theatre that carries an air of history and beauty that is indescribable. From the staircases, the lounges, and the halls. It’s a place that has a special aura that can’t be duplicated as I was in awe of what I was seeing. Once I found my seat which was the farthest nosebleed seat of the venue but directly in front of the stage. Just seeing the entire theatre, the balconies, and lights is really a thing of beauty.

At 7 PM, the opening act in Tobacco appeared on stage for a 30 minute set that had some interesting visuals with a couple of 3D spheres at each side of the stage with strange visuals. The music had its moments but I eventually found myself becoming bored by it as he got a decent reception. There were a few cuts that were danceable but the rest was just noise that I found to be un-engaging. After a break between performances, the Jesus & Mary Chain arrived at 7:50 PM to the sounds of the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds as a great introduction as the lights dimmed. Then comes the opening bars of Just Like Honey which shocked me as that song is really my favorite song of theirs as once Jim Reid’s voice appears. I knew I was in for a trance as this was a band that delivered from start to finish.

Consisting of Jim and guitarist William Reid along with guitarist Scott Van Ryper, bassist Mark Crozer, and drummer Brian Young along with a female backing vocalist for Just Like Honey. Things got more intense in the song Head On as I knew I was in for a damn good performance from a band that was once notorious for playing 20-minute sets in the past due to the Reid brothers’ notorious onstage fights. Instead, they played a 50-minute set filled with such classics songs as Blues from a Gun, Far Gone and Out, I Hate Rock N’ Roll, Reverence, Cracking Up, and a couple of deep cut in In a Hole from Psychocandy and Between Planets from Automatic. From their most recent album in Damage and Joy, two songs Amputation and All Things Pass are played as it showed the band still offering the goods. The band itself was loud and intense though their performance didn’t show it with Jim Reid just being straightforward and always clutching on the microphone stand while William Reid focuses on the guitar.

The Jesus & Mary Chain as a whole are just phenomenal as the chemistry in the entire band is solid in terms of the musicianship and energy. If one was to put this band against anything else that is on the charts right now or trending on radio and YouTube. The Jesus & Mary Chain would put everyone to shame as they were just tight in the performance as my ears were ringing a bit after the performance but it felt good. Not since Bauhaus in 2006 when they toured with NIN had I not been impressed by a band from the past just deliver as if age didn’t slow them down. After their performance ended at 8:45 PM where they got a great reception, there was a break between performances where I walked around the theatre and the lounges just soaking in the atmosphere of the location.

Everyone in the theatre were cool as I chatted up with a couple who had last seen NIN five years ago at the Philips Arena which I also attended as they too preferred this venue. The guy I think was from South America as he had seen David Bowie during the Sound + Vision tour of 1990 and still had his old T-shirt as I was envious of him as I had the chance to see Bowie in 1995 but unfortunate events happened. At around 9:10-9:15 PM, the lights at the theatre turned off as NIN arrived onstage with the opening bars of the infamous live-only track Now I’m Nothing which they haven’t performed since 2009. It would lead to Terrible Lie as it kicked things off with a bang though I think I saw Trent tripped before the end of the song when he was walking past Ilan Rubin’s drum riser.

The band that consists of vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist Trent Reznor, guitarist/keyboardist Robin Finck, keyboardist Atticus Ross, keyboardist/bassist/guitarist Alessandro Cortini and drummer/keyboardist/guitarist Ilan Rubin is definitely the most intense and blistering line-up of NIN that I have seen in the five times I had seen them live. I always felt that NIN in a five-piece outfit is at its strongest and they just kicked a lot of ass from start to finish. The musicianship is top-notch as the chemistry within the band is incredible with Finck always running around on stage while Rubin is just a beast on the drums. Cortini on his own set-up riser of keyboards and guitars had a presence of himself while Ross doesn’t really do much movement yet he manages to do a lot with what he’s doing as a musician.

Known for also putting on immense lighting and such, NIN has once again delivered in terms of what they can do visually where the lights and stage set-ups are on point. The usage of colors in lights definitely help set a mood yet it is the performance of Copy of A that is really the most impressive with its homage to the stuff Talking Heads did with Stop Making Sense. The lights they used in front of the stage would create these amazing shadows that would keep moving at a certain frame speed definitely shows a band that is willing to take risks to put on a show that delivers on what an audience would pay for. The attention to detail in the lighting and moods help solidify NIN as a live act that continuously pushes the boundaries of what can be done.

While I admit to being a bit disappointed in the lack of new material from the recent trilogy of new records that NIN has released in the past two years with only one song in This is the Place from Add Violence being played. The material that was played was still incredible as surprises in a few deep cuts like La Mer from The Fragile was played that featured Finck playing marimbas which was a surprise. Another big surprise that shocked me was playing a cover of Joy Division’s Digital as I tried to do the Ian Curtis dance. I don’t think I did a good job but I was having too much fun. The reception the band received from the audience that night is astounding. Especially during the encore as Reznor is happy to know that NIN still matters and that there’s people who are still willing to see NIN as they end the whole set with Hurt just minutes before the nighttime curfew ended at 11 PM.

NIN as a live entity is a completely different version than what Trent Reznor does in the studio. This was close to being better than the first time I saw them in June of 2006 when they toured with Bauhaus and TV on the Radio as that remains the best show I’ve seen from them. Yet, I think because of the venue as well as the overall performance of NIN has me wanting to say it’s the best show that I’ve seen. My only gripe is that the set list didn’t do enough new songs while I still have a few mixed feelings towards Tobacco. The Jesus and Mary Chain were definitely intense and incredible as they made the show a whole lot of fun and loud as the double-bill of them and NIN is really something any fan of good music should check out. More importantly, it was at the Fox Theatre as it’s just a perfect venue with a great sound system, atmosphere, people, and its sense of history. I hope the band does another show at the Fox Theatre soon as I hope to see them again real soon.

Setlist: Tobacco: Human Om/Streaker/Lipstick Destroyer/Can’t Count on Her/Warlock Mary/Stretch Your Face/Creepy Phone Calls/Smoky Mountain Neverthing

Jesus & Mary Chain: Just Like Honey/Head On/Amputation/Between Planets/Blues from a Gun/All Things Pass/Some Candy Talking/Far Gone and Out/Cracking Up/In a Hole/I Hate Rock N’ Roll/Reverence

NIN: Now I’m Nothing/Terrible Lie/Last/Letting You/Piggy/This Isn’t the Place/The Frail/The Wretched/The Becoming/Closer/La Mer/Reptile/Copy of A/The Good Soldier/Survivalism/Digital/Wish/Head Like a Hole

Encore: Help Me I Am in Hell/Happiness in Slavery/Even Deeper/Hurt

The Jesus & Mary Chain: Studio Albums: (Psychocandy) – (Darklands) – (Automatic) – (Honey’s Dead) – (Stoned and Dethroned) – (Munki) – (Damage and Joy)

Live/Compilations: (Barbed Wire Kisses) – (The Sound of Speed) – (Hate Rock N’ Roll) – (The Complete John Peel Sessions) – (Live in Concert) – (The Power of Negative Thinking: B-Sides & Rarities)

Nine Inch Nails: halos: halo 1 - halo 2 - halo 3 - halo 4 - halo 5 - halo 6 - halo 7 - halo 8 - halo 9 - halo 10 - halo 11 - halo 12 - halo 13 - (halo 14) – (halo 15) – (halo 16) – (halo 17) - (halo 18) – (halo 19) – (halo 20) – (halo 21) – (halo 22) - (halo 23) – (halo 24) – (halo 25) – (halo 26) – (halo 27) - (halo 28) – (halo 29) – (halo 30) – (halo 31) – (halo 32)

seeds: (seed 1) – (seed 2) – (seed 3) – (seed 4) – (seed 5) – (seed 6) – (seed 7) – (seed 8)

Trent Reznor/Atticus Ross Film Soundtracks: null 1 - null 2 - (null 3) – (null 4) – (null 5) – (null 6) – (null 7)

Soundtracks/Miscellaneous: The Broken Movie - Natural Born Killers OST - Quake OST - Lost Highway OST

Live Shows: (NIN/Bauhaus/TV on the Radio-6/7/06 Atlanta, GA Hi-Fi Buys Amphitheater) – (NIN/Deerhunter-8/13/08 Duluth, GA Gwinnett Arena) - (Jane’s Addiction/NIN/Street Sweeper Social Club-5/10/09 Atlanta, GA Hi-Fi Buys Amphitheater) – NIN/Godspeed You! Black Emperor-10/24/13 Atlanta, GA Philips Arena

© thevoid99 2018

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