NIN takes measures to keep out scalpers

By Andy Gray for The Tribune Chronicle on July 30, 2005

Assorted ramblings from the world of entertainment:

Add Nine Inch Nails to the list of acts trying to keeps its prime concert tickets out of the hands of scalpers.

The band - the brainchild of Mercer, Pa., native and one-time Clevelander Trent Reznor - isn't allowing venues, radio stations, email lists or sponsors to offer pre-sale ticket programs. The fan club ticketing available on the band's Web site - www.nin.com - requires members to show photo identification at the venue the day of the concert to pick up their tickets, and ticketholders will be whisked into the venue immediately after receiving their tickets.

Those willing to pay a premium to get up close to the band, which performs Oct. 9 at Gund Arena, can pay the extra money to charity. Starting this week, NIN is auctioning off top tickets for shows in 19 cities at www.ticketmaster.com. Auctions for additional shows will start Aug. 22.

All proceeds above the face value of the ticket price will be donated to The Innocence Project, which provides post-conviction DNA testing for prisoners who claim they have been convicted falsely of a crime.

Anyone with a few thousand extra dollars on their hands may want to venture to eBay, where they can bid on the "Key to the House'' for the House of Blues in Cleveland.

The music club is auctioning off a special VIP package with all proceeds benefiting the International House of Blues Foundation, which teaches the significance of folk art and the creative process to school children in grades 4-8.

The package includes a one-year standard membership to the Foundation Room, the member's only club located above the HOB's Fourth Street restaurant; two general admission tickets for every HOB show for a full year; 0 in merchandise from the company store; and free admission to all late night events at the venue.

The estimated retail value of the package is ,090, and the auction ends at 1 p.m. Monday. As of Wednesday afternoon, the bidding was at ,725, although the reserve price hadn't been met yet.

The e-mail address for the auction is longer than a jam band drum solo, but anyone who wants to check it out can go to www.ebay.com and type "House of Blues Key'' into the search engine.

Concert cancellations are a common occurrence, but a frightening tale is behind the scrapping of Sunday's show at Evans Amphitheater in Cleveland Heights by Marc Cohn and Suzanne Vega.

Cohn, a Cleveland native best-known for his Grammy-winning hit "Walking in Memphis,'' was shot in the temple Sunday when a man fleeing police tried to hijack his band's van following a concert in Denver.

The man fired a shot into the vehicle, and the bullet was slowed by first penetrating the windshield and grazing the van's driver, according to The Associated Press. Cohn, who is married to ABC news reporter Elizabeth Vargas, was treated for the gunshot wound and didn't have to be hospitalized, but he understandably canceled the remaining five dates on the tour.

Refunds are available at the point of purchase.

Sometimes in this job I think I'm being punk'd.

A few weeks ago I got a DVD in the mail at work for a Canadian heavy metal artist named Thor, who is performing tonight at Beachland Ballroom in Cleveland.

At first glance, I figured it had to be a joke, some kind of post-Spinal Tap parody. But apparently Thor is the real deal, a former Mr. Canada and Mr. America who dresses up like a superhero and bends steel bars with his teeth and blows up hot water bottles with his lungs in between songs.

"An-Thor-Logy'' collects music videos and television appearances by Jon Mikl Thor from 1976-85. If Ed Wood and Black Sabbath conceived a child at a comic book convention, he would make music videos that look and sound like this.

The music is catchy in a numbskull metal kind of way (I'm surprised I didn't know of Thor when I was a Circus magazine-reading, Rush- and Triumph-listening teen in the late '70s), but the videos have to be seen to be believed.

It might not be the recommendation they were looking for, but "An-Thor-Logy'' is one of the funniest DVDs of the year.

Andy Gray is the entertainment writer for the Tribune Chronicle. Write to him at grayareas@tribune-chronicle.com

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