In a piece written for the Quietus in the UK
, Emily Bick doesn't so much review the NINJA show at the O2 Arena, but rather waxes on about where rock music has come from and where it has gone, at least in the course of the last two decades. Where Bick felt Jane's Addiction faltered in conquering the anti-intimacy that is a stadium gig, Nine Inch Nails still manages to impress. That despite the clutter of social networking and modern ticketing systems that fans have to wallow through, NIN was "the best kind of stadium show possible."
Here, have a couple of partial paragraphs...
If you'd heard about Perry Farrell's 90s heyday—Spin covers every other month! Lollapalooza storming the outdoor stadium circuit in the US, previously turf of the Dead and Phish! Pied piper of a body-art MTV alternative nation! And then seen them here for the first time, you'd never have believed it.
Nine Inch Nails, though, they can ride this beast and slaughter it. It's because NIN songs, for all their rage, are ambivalent, not triumphalist. They are songs about fighting to the death to protect whatever shreds of dignity and love and self-determination anyone can hang onto as late capitalism chomps through everything worth living for. So for NIN to play in the middle of this corporate hellmouth is almost the perfect setting. Looking up from the floor, the ticker-light ads for Miley Cyrus and American Idol tours circling the room are dizzying and insulting in their assumption that these are things everybody must like. It's proof that, yes, all the frustration and persecution is real, and the jackbooted powers that be are dancing on the backs of the bruised.
...Now read the whole thing here
. Thanks for the link, John!