Autolux/Queens Of The Stone Age/Nine Inch Nails
10/01/2005 – Hollywood Bowl: Los Angeles, CA
Words by Reverend Justito
Editors Note: With LA on fire once again, and tonight being the “last” time I see Nine Inch Nails, I figured it was appropriate to share with you the very first concert review I wrote (for my myspace blog). In going back and reading this today, I was not only reminded of a wonderful night I had, but am rather amazed to see how far my writing has come. I hope you enjoy.
On October 1st, 1994, Nine Inch Nails played the Event Center in San Jose, CA. A sophomore in High School, I begged my mother to let me go to the show. I begged and begged, however the answer remained no. 11 years later to the day, I found myself stumbling up Highland Avenue to the world famous Hollywood Bowl. 11 long years after missing that show, I would finally see Nine Inch Nails. It could not be the more perfect night. We met some friends down the street at the Powerhouse to get our drink on. Most of us had started drinking pretty early in the day, as we could all walk to the Bowl (and avoid $20.00 stack parking) rather easily. Between the Wild Turkey & Big Gulp on the way and drinks at the house, I was feeling real good walking into the bowl. With the venue being a pretty classy joint, I was glad to see a major lack of security searching people upon the way in. Jack Daniels & other fun items could have been left in our pockets, instead of hidden in other unmentionable areas. We got to our benches right before the show kicked off.
Silver Lake darlings Autolux kicked off as the sun was setting in the fire filled skies. Having recently picked up their debut album, Future Perfect, I was excited to see what this band could do live. A three piece, the band features Greg Edwards (Failure) on guitar, Carla Azar (Edna Swap) on drums & Eugene Goreshter on Vocals/Bass. Autolux definitely had the hardest job of the night. The band that no one knows playing to people trying to find their seats. I thought the band was awesome (as I am already converted) but were met with a mediocre response. They got up and did what they do for 30 minutes. Definitely sounding like Silver Lake, musically they remind me a little bit of Sonic Youth. While not technically stunning, their simple riffs with heavy distortion/delay/loops and hard driving drum beats sound cool so who gives a fuck right? They were met with a rather mediocre response. Not heavy enough for the hardcore Nine Inch Nails fans, No hits for the KROQ crowd to get up and dance too, and no where as interesting as the chicken or fish dinner for the folks below us in the luxury boxes (more on that later). Overall, I loved the entire set. “Turnstile Blues” was the best number by far. I definitely think this band has what it takes to be that KROQ band one day.
After a quick set change, the Bowl was finally packed as Queens of the Stone Age took the stage. I had a lot of questions going into this one. I love the band, but the new album Lullabies To Paralyze is mediocre at best. I really miss Nick Oliveri and what he brought to the mix. I was curious how the Nine Inch Nails fans would react to a band as “ungoth” as Queens of The Stone Age. What I did see ended up impressing me. The band opened with the radio hit “Go with the Flow” which quickly flowed into an extended “Feel Good Hit of the Summer”. With the audience in his hands, front man Josh Homme began a game which he played all night. Looking like a sleazy Euro Porn star, Josh managed to insult the crowd throughout the night. For those unfamiliar with the bowl, in front of the stage is an orchestra pit (which for the rock show was filled with seats for all the pretty V.I.P’s). Directly behind the orchestra, the Hollywood Bowl is filled with an entire section of luxury boxes where full meals are served. Very un rock, but what do you expect from a venue that usually hosts classical music. It seemed Josh was bothered by this – and quickly began his trash talking. Hitting on one man near the front, he informed the crowd that he had seen more dickends than weekends. Knowing just when to stop, they launched into “Avon” & “I Think I Lost My Headache”. The older tunes sounded fucking amazing with the new lineup. Drummer Joey Castillo (Danzig) is as good, if not better than Dave Grohl. Troy Van Leeuwan (Failure/A Perfect Circle) can play so many different things he really is the bands MVP. Bass player Alain Johannes – while not Nick O. definitely held his own. What else would you expect from a life long studio musician? The one week spot was Natasha Shneider on keys. Unheard throughout the show, the only time you could hear her was a horrific piano solo during current radio hit “In My Head”. As the hour long set went on, the first half (minus brand new song “The Fun Machine Took A Shit”) was mainly older stuff. “Monster In The Parasol” and “Song For The Dead” definitely stick out as highlights for me. Towards the end (and after many more insults), we got the new stuff. Even live, the new material doesn’t really do it for me. I Found “In My Head” & “Tangled Up In Plaid” rather boring. The only song off the new disc that I felt was worth anything was “Burn The Witch” which Josh dedicated to everyone who hated the band in the crowd. The band closed the show with their biggest hit – “No One Knows” which was the first song of the night to bring the entire crowd to its feet. Overall – I really enjoyed this set as well and I think most of the crowd did, despite a rude Josh Homme.
After a not so quick set change, Nine Inch Nails finally hit the stage. The front of the stage was covered with a large white sheet. The bowl went completely dark and right away the opening guitar chords of “Pinion” rang through the humid fall night. The song went right into “Love Is Not Enough” from the new album. The band was still behind the white sheet, but lights began to shine on stage, so you could only make out the bands shadows. As the song wrapped, the curtain lifted and the band went into another new song “You Know What You Are?”. Looking like Matthew Fox from the hit TV show “Lost” anyone who thinks Trent has lost his anger is high on something. The band (including drummer Jerome Dillon, who has had heart problems resulting in the Oakland show being postponed on Friday night) was firing on all cylinders – leaving both opening acts in the dust behind. Trent’s vocals were nothing short of amazing. He looks real buff, real pissed and real fucking sexy. Jeordie White (Marilyn Manson/A Perfect Circle) layed some fat bass lines down through the night and held tight with drummer Jerome Dillon. This allowed guitar player Aaron North (The Iccarus Line) to own the stage like a fucking mad man. How this guy can get on stage and put his body through that type of beating (all while nailing every single guitar part as if it was his own) night after night amazes me. The crowd was really into the set, and the band really feeded off the energy. As a rare treat, the band busted out “Reptile” from the Downward Spiral. It was perfect. “Wish”, “Terrible Lie”, “Suck”, “March Of The Pigs” & “Burn” (from the Natural Born Killers Soundtrack) were all ass kicking and destroyed the crowd. “Closer” sounded sexier than usual with a lotta wah petal and pelvis thrusting. Much to my joy, the band ignored 2000’s The Fragile – which is the only NIN album I don’t really like. The one song they played, I couldn’t even tell you what it was called. About half way though the set, the white curtain came back down and for the next few songs, was used a screen to project images. “Right Where It Belongs” had a mix of current events, from Trent’s former home of New Orleans, and visions from National Geographic/When Animals Attack. The Iraq War, Children with guns to their heads & President Bush dancing with his wife (an image that the crowd met with roaring boo’s) were just some of the violent/offensive images during “Erase Me”. The encore kicked off with a beautiful version of “Hurt”. A song that found the entire crowd singing along – lighters and cell phones in the air. The show closed with a brutal “Head Like A Hole” that kicked the enthusiastic crowd’s ass hard – leaving everyone begging for more. Definitely check this show out if you get a chance.