October 17, 2018

Nine Inch Nails and The Jesus and Mary Chain played Kings Theatre

For what must've been the most intense show to ever grace the Kings Theatre stage, Nine Inch Nails and The Jesus and Mary Chain brought the Cold and Black and Infinite tour to Brooklyn for night three of four New York City shows.

In the early nineties, The Jesus and Mary Chain brought rising act Nine Inch Nails out on tour in support of their album Automatic. Now, nearly thirty years later, the bands have reversed rolls for one of the best tour of the year. When the opening act starts their set with "Just Like Honey," it's clear that the night is going to be something to remember. Taking the classic drum beat behind many of Phil Spector's wall of sound, pop songs for the ages and clashing it with brilliant arrays of catastrophic noise, The Jesus and Mary Chain set the scene for so many groups and would pioneer a sound that many would attempt to recreate, but never quite replicate. Brash, bold guitars wailed out over steady rhythms as Jim Reid clutched his mic stand with a firm grasp, arching his band and recoiling almost to his knees as he led the band through an electric charge of noise-pop wonder. Known for their rather disastrous performances during their 80s hey-day, the Reid brothers have aged gracefully without damaging their reputation and actually have enhanced their live shows into raucous, yet well executed productions. Lights dazzled as blasts of surging riffs echoed throughout the theatre, displaying the band's ability to wrangle up some noise, but without ever losing control. "Head On" and "Some Candy Talking" both radiated in a blistering fashion and were two bold highlights from their set. Like running Man Ray's The Gift featuring Velvet Underground style feedback over Beach Boys charm, the band picked up where Echo and the Bunnymen left off and are still delivering on their message and reputation of pioneers over the College and Alt-Rock bands that would rule the 90s.

Few can tackle stage production like Trent Reznor and tour after tour the man continues to raise the bar, making each of his treks one of the most exhilarating of the year. Whether he's playing arenas, headlining festivals, or obliterating theaters across the country, there is nothing like seeing Nine Inch Nails and immersing yourself in all that Trent can unload. Packing the stage with as many lights as it seemed possible, the quintet jammed themselves onstage and proceeded to annihilate the crowd with a visceral and dominating show that made the band feel larger than life. The guitars were revved-up with an ultra-menacing tension that was matched by Ilan Rubin's frenetic drumming. The night started off in high velocity by driving straight into "Terrible Lie," "Mr. Self Destruct," and "March of the Pigs" all of which came together in rapid succession and raised the intensity of the night to a strong eleven. The industrial icons were in absolutely stellar form, their best in years, and the total power they unveiled onstage was unfathomable. Not once did the group falter, each song transitioning from one to the next with utter perfection while a magnificent spectacle unfolded behind them. In a specific moment, beams of light boxed in the band onstage, somehow making the theater feel even more intimate and continued to prove the legacy of the band's mind bending performances. New tracks like "Shit Mirror" and the excellent "God Break Down the Door" were a great balance to the otherwise rather classic set list of which almost half was comprised from Pretty Hate Machine and The Downward Spiral. (After dominating Sunday's show at Radio City, nothing from The Fragile made the cut.) Somehow making it's live debut just a few weeks ago, "The Perfect Drug" was enthralling and set-up the rest of the set to close out the night with brazen fury. "Wish" and "Head Like a Hole" saw the lighting exceed to a whole new level as walls of blinding strobe overtook the room. As one could've expected, the night was ended with "Hurt," a predictable, but forever powerful number that capped off an incredible night. The rarity of a Nine Inch Nails is nowhere near the level of their past, but the allure of seeing the band live remains. Time and time again, Trent has brought his talents in both owning the crowd as a frontman, but also from a creative direction in terms of design and engineering. The extravagance is unmatched and with each passing tour, Reznor continues to be one of the most innovative artists in live music. Reznor reviving his project after only a handful of years into retirement felt a bit contrived at the time, but all is forgiven when he takes the stage and
continuously carries out the performance of the year.

Set List

01 "Now I'm Nothing"
02 "Terrible Lie"
03 "Mr. Self Destruct"
04 "March of the Pigs"
05 "Something I Can Never Have"
06 "Sanctified"
07 "The Lovers"
08 "Shit Mirror
09 "Ahead of Ourselves
10 "God Break Down the Door"
11 "Closer" [with ‘The Only Time’ interpolation]
12 "Find My Way"
13 "I Do Not Want This"
14 "The Perfect Drug"
15 "Only"
16 "Wish
17 "Head Like a Hole"
18 "Home"
19 "Metal" [Gary Numan cover]
20 "Hurt"

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