NIN, Queens showcase talented frontmen

By Austin Powell for Daily Texan on October 18, 2005

It's been nearly 16 years since Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails revolutionized industrial and rock music with their debut album, "Pretty Hate Machine." While time has certainly weathered the band, their performance Sunday night at the SBC Center in San Antonio proved that they are not only legendary for their past but still among the greatest live acts in music today.

Hiding behind a thin veil, revealing only shadows of themselves, the silhouettes of Nine Inch Nails began with "Love is Not Enough," a track from their latest album, "With Teeth." As the barrier between audience and performers was lifted, NIN connected the past with their present, tearing through "Terrible Lie" and "Closer."

The curtain came down again during a three-song melody connected together with a video montage that projected onto the curtain behind the group. The transitional scenes created a moving soundtrack to Reznor's industrial laments and provided proof positive that he is still pushing technological and artistic boundaries.

While Reznor appeared sober, bulked-up and clean-shaven, his past melancholy emotion poured through during "Hurt." The song flowed into a powerful, angst-ridden performance of "The Hand That Feeds" and climaxed with a fist-pumping, apocalyptic rehashing of "Head Like A Hole."

Opening for Reznor and his group were alt-metal rockers Queens of the Stone Age. Whether headlining a show, like they did this past summer at Stubbs, or opening up for another band, like Nine Inch Nails, the Josh-Homme-led four-piece have the hits, attitude and sexual swagger to please any audience.

Sunday night Queens utilized their time to play the majority of their latest album, "Lullabies to Paralyze." Standout numbers included the incestuous, cowbell-crashing "Little Sister" and their set closer, "No One Knows," which was extended musically to allow Homme to solo on guitar before closing the song with gorgeous acapella vocals.

While the presence of former bass player Nick Oliveri and occasional vocals of Mark Lanegan are still missed, playing rare in-store performances, like at Waterloo Records today, and intimate, sold-out shows, like tonight at Emo's, more than makes up for the Queens' now being a one-man show.

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