Council of Trent

NIN devotees pack Marquee

By Albert Ching for Get Out on May 29, 2005

It’s an odd sight: 1,000 pierced, tattooed, leather- and latex-clad music fans gleefully singing in unison to lyrics like “I want to (expletive) you like an animal.”

Despite mostly lukewarm reviews for their latest album, the recently released “With Teeth,” the crowd at the Nine Inch Nails show Saturday at Marquee Theatre was clearly starved to see the group in action, five years since their last show in town.

“The sound was much better than the last show at America West Arena,” said Aaron Moore, 25, of Chandler.

Trent Reznor, band leader and only official member, showed off sculpted deltoid muscles in a (naturally) black tank top, evidently fully recovered from several well-publicized bouts with drugs and depression.

He led the newest version of his touring band through a balanced set featuring a roughly even mix of the revered industrial act’s four full-length studio albums (as well as their acclaimed 1992 EP “Broken”), nimbly alternating between the thrashing metal of songs like “March of the Pigs” and the contemplative musings of tracks like “Even Deeper.”

Reznor poured admirable amounts of energy into each song, be it a vintage classic like “Terrible Lie” or one of the deeper album tracks from the new disc. The singer was soaked in frenzied sweat a mere four songs into the set, although the considerable body heat conducted from the crush of people packed into the venue was probably at least a little to blame. This juxtaposition of electronic music and Reznor’s very personal lyrics and vocal style has always been central to the appeal of Nine Inch Nails, with Saturday being no exception.

The show was the second of two consecutive Tempe dates to sell out almost instantaneously, and it was definitely a hardcore audience on-hand. Suffice to say, it seems unlikely that the Marquee will see as many mesh shirts and fishnet stockings at the Collective Soul show later this week.

“I’ve seen them like four times, and this was great. The fact that it was a smaller venue really made a difference,” said Andrea Feldaberd, 24, of Chandler.

This devotion comes from bleak ballads like “Home” and “Something I Can Never Have” resonating with detached youth for more than 15 years.

Almost each song became a dreary yet spirited chorus between Reznor and the audience, with the Johnny Cash-covered “Hurt” inspiring the loudest sing-along.

Yet this heavy amount of audience participation could not be attributed to Reznor himself, who engaged the crowd only in the occasional “thank you,” not that one would expect the angst-ridden icon to regale a crowd with charming anecdotes. The music itself also felt a little distant, as the heavily programmed keyboard-reliant tunes leave improvisation at a minimum, with the only freewheeling changes being an occasional expletive awkwardly inserted into a song lyric.

The band’s lyrics usually toe the line between Keats-esque erudite gloom and high school diary-esque tedious blather, and thus began to wear thin during the course of the 90-minute set. The mood was helped out by the lighting, which featured a backdrop that displayed colorful patterns, acting like a goth Lite Brite.

Boston’s Dresden Dolls, rising cabaret/weirdo act, opened the show, with a brief yet theatric set of current radio hits like “Coin-Operated Boy” and “Girl Anachronism.”

“Beside You In Time” (into)
“The Line Begins To Blur”
“March of the Pigs”
“Something I Can Never Have”
“The Hand That Feeds”
“Terrible Lie”
“Closer/Only Time”
“Even Deeper”
“Love Is Not Enough”
“Gave Up”
“Star****ers Inc.”
“Head Like A Hole”

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