|Journal Music Writer|
Nine Inch Nails
With: Crystal Castles
Where: Rexall Place
EDMONTON - No musician captures the mood of our times better than Trent Reznor. As the driving force behind Nine Inch Nails, he mixes brutal industrial-rock rhythms with melancholy melodies and lyrics about greed, rage, impotence, loneliness, and the end of the world.
But leave it to Reznor - and his stage designer - to turn these subjects into a vision of splendor. Using an array of lights, mesh LED screens, and security camera feeds, Nine Inch Nails transformed Rexall Place into a giant art installation, complete with 8,000 fans, on Monday night.
It was an awesome sight to behold, putting Kanye West's recent Glow In The Dark spectacle to shame. Yet like the rapper, Reznor didn't waste time trying to explain his songs or engage the crowd in silly call-and-response antics. He said a few perfunctory thank yous during the course of NIN's set, only waiting until the encore to speak in full sentences. "We're trying to do the best for you guys," he said.
Mission accomplished. Reznor and his current lineup of musicians - guitarist Robin Finck, drummer Josh Freese, keyboard player Alessandro Cortini and bassist Justin Meldal-Johnsen - were relentless, playing more than 25 tunes in two hours.
They cranked through most of NIN's biggest hits - such as Closer, Head Like A Hole, Only, Terrible Lie, and a sparse, spine-tingling rendition of Hurt - but almost half the set was devoted to the group's latest efforts, The Slip and Ghosts I-IV, a double-disc of instrumental numbers.Both albums were released this year, in what is proving to be one of Reznor's most productive periods as an artist. His tirelessness was also apparent on stage. By the middle of NIN's encore, he looked like he was gearing up to play for another two hours.