October 10, 2013
Nine Inch Nails electrifies audience at Wolstein Center
By Josh Hoover
On Oct. 5, industrial music pioneers Nine Inch Nails returned to Cleveland and played to a nearly packed Wolstein Center.
Opening with the new single “Copy of A,” it was clear that front man Trent Reznor was in sync with his touring musicians. The high-energy beat made the crowd roar, as Reznor ran around the stage maniacally.
As the show continued, Reznor showed his musical mastery by playing guitar during several songs including the crowd favorite “The Hand That Feeds,” as well as playing keyboard during several other songs, showing everyone that he truly is the band’s driving force.
The show contained a wide mix of hits from the band’s career, including their first single,
“Head Like a Hole,” written while Reznor lived in Cleveland. The crowd exploded during the song, yelling along during the chorus.
The band played a large selection of songs off of their new album, “Hesitation Marks,” including eight of the 14 songs on the album. Due to this, several big songs from earlier albums were left off of the setlist - most noticeably the bands biggest single, “Closer.”
The production quality during the concert was of the highest quality, with a fantastic light show going on around, and occasionally in front of the band. The sound was crisp, with every instrument being perfectly balanced to create the cacophony of sound that Nine Inch Nails is known for. The production quality was most noticeable during the closing number, “Hurt.” During the chorus, video clips played on the screen behind the band, some beautiful and some terrible, drawing gasps from the crowd at times.
Opening for Nine Inch Nails was Explosions in the Sky, a post-rock band from Texas most known for their work on “Friday Night Lights.” While very technically adept, their music is instumental, causing many of the songs to blend together. This led to the audience becoming disinterested during the band’s 40-minute set.
Overall, the show was very solid, though the lack of chemistry between the bands and the audience was noticeable. Neither band took the time to speak to the crowd much, which made them seem disconnected to everyone. However, Trent Reznor is not known for being very personable, so that was to be expected. Still, a little bit more crowd interaction, especially considering that he lived in Cleveland for years, would have been a nice touch and would have pulled the concert from very good into greatness.