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Soundwave – Nine Inch Nails

Soundwave, the newest of the Australian festivals pushed off with another successful year touring throughout the country during the height of the heat of Summer.
Each year Soundwave brings fans of the metal, hardcore and just plain alternative persuasion out to the parks of each capital city, for a full day of the latest music prodigies, intense light shows, and a chance to get their piece of memorabilia signed by the bands on tour.

This year was no exception when it came to an impressive lineup – the comedic classics Bloodhound Gang toured along with the newly reformed Alice in Chains, and the highly influential Nine Inch Nails.

In the wake of the news that Nine Inch Nails were to go on indefinite hiatus after their next American tour with the original lineup of Janes Addiction, they definitely left the truest of Nine Inch Nails fans satisfied, despite the fact it may be their last Australian show.
The highly anticipated show roared off with a single from their latest album The Slip. “Letting You” a raw and testosterone filled affair left the audiences not only stunned with the high quality of performance from the new lineup (Trent Reznor, Robin Frinck, Justin Meldal-Johnsen and Ilan Rubin) but the impressive light show that Trent endeavoured to bring across to the shores of Brisbane.

Throughout the performance Reznor seemed distracted, and filled with deep emotion as he pushed through several songs covering as many albums as possible. His raw and honest approach to his current feelings towards the music industry left the crowd confused, as he apologised and explained his predicament.

Despite his lack of energy, Reznor began to move effortlessly creating an ideal setlist for the sea of intense Nine Inch Nails fans. Covering everything from his first debut album Pretty Hate Machine with the crowd pleasers Head Like a Hole, and Terrible Lie, to moving through the vast emotional and large soundscapes created through The Fragile.

One of the more musical highlights of the evening was the fully instrumental La Mer. Midway through the rough and heavy performance, the band slowed down to slowly play their instrumental piece that left the audience stunned. Their musical prowess showcased within their 2008 release Ghosts was exemplified in this live performance, that is a rare occasion for many shows.

Twenty minutes before the show was due to end, the obviously exhausted band left the stage, leaving the pulsating lights of their light show egging on the crowd, encouraging an encore – a feat of which Trent Reznor does not believe. In a well broadcast interview, Reznor proclaimed his severe distaste for the charade that encores hold.

The patient audience waited, only to be greeted again by the humbled band who launched into another four songs including the song that millions of people across the globe know through different mediums. ‘Hurt’ off of ‘The Downward Spiral’ was recorded by Country music legend Johnny Cash, shortly before he passed away. Reznor, often exclaiming that he believes the song now belongs to Mr Cash, was executed perfectly, with an audience of thousands joining in the singing, the event of which sent shivers up many spines.

While Reznor seemed distracted and upset throughout the performance, kudos must be paid to the supporting members. While Reznor rotates the members frequently to keep the performances fresh, each member is unique and brings something original to the performance. Justin Meldal-Johnsen was energetic and oozed confidence with his bass guitar as his weapon, followed by Robin Frinck who moved around the stage effortlessly as he hammered each guitar part with accuracy. The newest member to the lineup, the drummer who played with the poster boys of emo-rock The Lost Prophets, Ilan Rubin proved a vital member to the band, especially during ‘March of the Pigs’, the drum part of which could not easily be achieved through playing Guitar Hero World Tour.

Nine Inch Nails have been going strong for almost two decades now, and as their touring may come to an indefinite end, it’s definitely time to buy tickets to see them during their next tour. While this was an impressive festival based show, their separate touring shows are guaranteed to wow with the amount of effort put into the ambience, including lights, sounds and general atmosphere of the concert halls.

Be sure to check out www.nin.com as the band post high-def pictures and recordings from every single show, as well as blog posts, and free downloads.

By Mel Clarke

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