NIN, Jane's Addiction, SSSC- May, 11 2009

Lakewood Ampitheater, Atlanta GA

Street Sweeper Social Club came on first. Not a very impressive show, but it's always good to see Tom Morello do his thing, especially outside of Audioslave. It sounded like the singer (whoever he was) was trying to mimic Rage's sound, but since we all know that there can't be another Zack de la Rocha, it was pretty hopeless. I ended up just watching Tom's fingering on solos and such.

Next came Nine Inch Nails, the reason I went to Atlanta that day. It was a damn good show. Smoke poured across the stage as Trent Reznor gripped his synthesizer/keyboard like a deranged maniac trying to block out a bad dream. Rocking back and forth as if battling inner demons (which he surely was), Trent began belching out song after song from my favorite NIN album, Downward Spiral. This even included one of my favorite songs, The Becoming, though, he failed to include the tortured screams that preclude the track on the LP. The show ended with "Head Like A Hole," always a crowd pleaser. No tribute to "Closer," which is unfortunate especially if this is indeed his last tour. However, if it is, he surely left a legacy within industrial metal. One thing that irritated me was that, having come on second, the sun was still over the horizon, so I didn't get the full effect of already sub-par lighting. Rare at a NIN show, but good nontheless. Reznor is noted for using different musicians on each tour, and the ones he chose for this one were fully capable. I was most impressed with the guitarist and the drummer, since most of Trent's stuff is laden with power riffs and percussion that is diffcult to copy outside of synthesis.

But nothing prepared me for the antics of Perry Farrell of Jane's Addiction. References to sex, drugs, and rock and roll represented the whole reason why 98% of the crowd were there. I'm sure the other 2% were either offended or so messed up that it escaped them. Of course, the classics were played. "The Mountain Song," "Been Caught Stealing," and they ended on a wonderful beachy-sounding acoustic favorite, "Jane Says." The show might be the best one I've ever witnessed, though a sobered up Scott Weiland at last year's Halloween STP show in Birmingham might rival it. Farrell humped various things on stage, including Dave Navarro (with clothes still on). Mr. Perry prefaced most songs with a story: for instance, he talked about going to Southside, a shopping area in Atlanta, to get some clothes and said, "...but I didn't pay for anything." Thinking that the store "comped" him, we were all immediately led into "Been Caught Stealing" when he screamed out that he "fucking stole it." Splendid. The lights were also terrific, and the production seemed to offer more to the viewer than NIN did. It was interesting finally seeing Navarro live, too. He is one of the more underrated guitarists of contemporary music, and I was entranced by some of his fingering positions for stuff that I will never be able to play.

The place was packed, and I made a note to myself to sit on the green in the back next time and smoke a lot of weed. Not that people weren't smoking in the seats, but I want to be able to move around and not have people pushing by me when I'm trying to watch an artist who is already 100 yds away. Comfort and another 100 yds seems like a good trade off.

Altogether, well worth the drive there and the +$50 ticket.

Wed 5/13/2009 1:30 PM