Friday, May 29, 2009

Nine Inch Nails and Jane's Addiction at the Santa Barbara Bowl

The NINJA tour continues to destroy each city it visits. I was fortunate enough to catch their shows in Las Vegas and Irvine before settling in for my last show of the tour at the beautiful Santa Barbara Bowl.

The subtitle of the tour is "Wave Goodbye" as Trent Reznor claims that this will be the last widespread touring for Nine Inch Nails. A warning for those attending the shows is that Jane's Addiction closes out the show so make sure you get there early.

Street Sweeper Social Club

Decked out in matching military coats, Street Sweeper Social Club attacked the stage with their hard driving resistance rock. The engine driving this wrecking machine is the jaw dropping guitar gymnastics of Tom Morello. Tom has one of the more characteristic guitar tones in the business.

While I must admit Boots Riley (Vocals) does a great job of bouncing across the stage, it is hard not to stare at Tom Morello when he unplugs his guitar and pushes the input plug against his hand for a bizarre guitar solo.

Tom didn't stop there as he also used his teeth for another ripping sonic assault. I immediately purchased a Digitech Whammy pedal back in the day when I found out that Tom frequently used it on the debut Rage Against the Machine album.

Street Sweeper Social Club will release their self-titled debut album on June 16th. While it's difficult to recreate the intense dynamic of Rage Against the Machine, Street Sweeper Social Club is light years beyond Tom's endeavors in Audioslave.

"100 Little Curses" and "Fight!Smash!Win!" are dynamic call to arms songs that fuse the fiery raps of Boots with the guitar noise bombs of Tom. Show up early so you don't miss Street Sweeper Social Club.

Nine Inch Nails

I unfortunately missed Nine Inch Nails back in 1991 when they played Lollapalooza. At least, I can say I saw Nine Inch Nails play during sunlight as they started their set at 6:35.

Seeing a slew of dates during their technologically advaced "Lights In The Sky" tour, the only minor complaint was that the setlist was very similar night to night. The new stripped down line up and setup adds the new dynamic of surprise to each night.

I often asked the same question of "Why do you see bands multiple times?" This can easily be answered when I point out that Nine Inch Nails are playing a different set every night often unfurling gems from the past. The gems of the night were "I'm Afraid of Americans", "Burn", "Suck", "Home" and "Non-Entity".

One of the many highlights of the show was "Piggy" as Trent jeopardized his life by jumping down to the rail in front of the crowd and screaming the lyrics in front of the faithful fans. I can't specifically put my finger on why the show was amazing but there was a distinct energy from the band, the crowd and the venue. It was a magical combination that made the concert special.I also took one of my members of Team Chemist who had never seen Nine Inch Nails before and even she commented it was one of the top shows she has witnessed.

Trent hit up all the instruments at this particular show by playing guitar, synthesizers, tambourine and xylophone (during "The Good Soldier"). It is difficult to think that this will be the last Nine Inch Nails show I will attend but there are rumblings of a potential final show on September 2nd at the Hollywood Palladium. One can only hope this rumor is true.

Nine Inch Nails setlist at the Santa Barbara Bowl (5/21/09)
"Somewhat Damaged"
"March of the Pigs"
"The Beginning of the end"
"I'm Afraid of Americans"
"I Do Not Want This"
"Gave Up"
"La mer"
"The Downward Spiral"
"The Good Soldier"
"The Hand That Feeds"
"Head Like a Hole"

Jane's Addiction

Jane's Addiction is back. I am sure you already know this from when I reviewed their show at the Echoplex. With a few shows under their belt, Jane's has really hit their stride, turning out compelling performances every night.

As much as I loved this particular set by Jane's at the Santa Barbara Bowl, it would have been to difficult to eclipse the energy that I witnessed the night before in Irvine. The difference would be this show was an A- compared to the A+ of Irvine. Perry Farrell wasn't nearly as talkative compared to the night before, but got in the spirit of the tour by donning black ninja garb. Instead of carrying swords or throwing stars, Perry was armed with a bottle of wine and a microphone as he pranced around the stage.

I am still in awe of the chemistry among Dave Navarro (Guitars), Stephen Perkins (Drums) and Eric Avery (Bass). It almost supports the belief in a metaphysical connection between people, the way they are interlocked on the various grooves of their songs.

Eric Avery kills it every night with his foot stomping, stomach rumbling bass lines that carry the songs. Stephen Perkins is hidden behind his massive double bass drum kit pounding away while Dave Navarro doesn't even break a sweat shredding on his white Ibanez guitar.

Their setlist doesn't change much, but it is filled with hits and deep cuts. Ending the evening with "Jane Says" brings it all together as Eric and Dave delicately strum the "G-A-G-A" simple melody knitted together by the steel drum playing by Stephen. There is a reason why no one has attempted to copy the sound of Jane's Addiction. It can't be done.

Jane's Addiction setlist at the Santa Barbara Bowl (5/21/09)
"Three Days"
"Ain't No Right"
"Pigs in Zen"
"Then She Did..."
"Mountain Song"
"Been Caught Stealing"
"Ted, Just Admit it..."
"Ocean Size"
"Summertime Rolls"
"Jane Says"


Mike D said...

Hey man-

I was @Irvine + SB as well, and I totally agree; there was something completely magical about SB. Maybe it was because I was on the rail next to Finke...maybe it was because it's such a tiny ass venue...hell maybe it was the SUN, but that show was epic.

This is the first I've heard of a 9/2 rumor, but I hope it's true :)

Can't believe in the 6 NIN shows I've been to, I still haven't heard "the wretched"

Anonymous said...

Tri-tip sandwich!!