Sunday, June 7, 2009


Last night
I went to one of the best shows I've ever seen: NINJA '09: Nine Inch Nails, Jane's Addiction and Street Sweeper Social Club

SSSC was great - some people will obviously compare them to Rage Against The Machine because it is a Tom Morello-led band with a hip-hop MC. But Boots Reilly is different than Zach de la Rocha (and Chris Cornell) in that he enjoys being onstage. He's as politically informed as Zach, but he's more fun. I don't know if this band will be a great as Rage, but I'm looking forward to finding out when their debut album comes out in a week and a half. 

NIN were mind-blowing. Even when Trent Reznor was having substance issues (he recently tweeted that he's now eight years sober, congratulations), you never doubted him onstage. Sober, he's unstoppable. NIN had four guys - they used to always have five, but the keyboardist left, and I guess Trent didn't want to get a new guy in the band right as he's about to hang it up. So he and the other guys in the band played the keyboards, and it didn't seem lacking at all. Trent seemed to have an extra intensity -- he doesn't seem sure that he'll ever tour as Nine Inch Nails again. I can understand that: he's in his 40s, he's getting married, and screaming "Terrible Lie" may not feel honest to him anymore. I think he can move on the way Bowie moved on from his early glam persona. Anyway, Trent also resisted the urge to make the show a greatest hits goodbye, and the the show was more powerful for it. He drew from his more recent albums like The Slip and Year Zero, as well as the earlier stuff -- it was basically a thank you to fans (in my mind). It wasn't about the songs that radio/MTV choose to play, it was about the hardcore fans who have been with them for the entire ride. A greatest radio hits show would not have been appropriate. It was definitely appreciated. 

Jane's was also incredible. I've seen them twice before: once with Flea on bass, and the other time with Chris Chaney. Both shows were great, but seeing them with original bassist Eric Avery was a totally different deal.  There's just something about the chemistry of the original four guys, it was unbelievably powerful. It's interesting that the last time Jane's and NIN toured together it was the original Lollapalooza in 1991 - 18 years ago.  Back then, it was JA's swan song and it kind of launched NIN's career. This tour, hopefully is the opposite: as Trent shuts down NIN for the time being, maybe this tour will relaunch Jane's.  It's hard to imagine that they'll be able to make records anywhere near as good as their first three. But even if they didn't - and this ends up being a the final chapter in the Jane's story, it was a good way to end, with the four originals rocking together again. 

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