Gig review: Nine Inch Nails

ON RECORD, long-serving electronic rock monolith Nine Inch Nails (in practice, lead orchestrator Trent Reznor and whoever he’s gathered to play around him) are a group whose sound is about introspection and catharsis in equal measure.

Trent Reznor singing with Nine Inch Nails. Picture: Facebook
Trent Reznor singing with Nine Inch Nails. Picture: Facebook

Nine Inch Nails - Hydro, Glasgow


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In the live context, however, they’re a communal assault on the senses, a quartet of figures against a visual cacophony of flaring lights, a hammeringly loud live performance, and that voice – Reznor’s unmistakable voice of a Man in Black for the 21st century, a strangely detached growl which springs on occasion into enraged life.

Touring the exceptional new album Hesitation Marks, they veered through a 25-year career in just under two hours, from Copy of A to the thrusting dark funk of 1994’s Closer. Every song was rich in sonic texture and deep in primal urges. To experience them is such a thrill because they can at once enthral this huge hall and not permit a moment’s compromise, their only decidedly welcome concession that they finished with Hurt, its fame almost transcending their own thanks to the original Man in Black Johnny Cash having incorporated it into his own American Recordings.

Seen on 20.05.14