Nine Inch Nails, Soundgarden Austin Concert Review: 90’s nostalgia loomed large on a blazing Texas night.
Soundgarden and Nine Inch Nails transported audiences back to the 90’s last night at the Austin 360 amphitheater.
Openers Dillinger Escape Plan controlled mayhem provided a shock to the system. Despite the blistering summer heat the band members flailed with wild abandon.
Soundgarden were up next, opening with the guttural scrawl of Searching With My Good Eye Closed. Unlike SXSW when the band played Superunknown in its entirety, this was a more diverse set, covering all aspects of their discography.
Vocalist Chris Cornell, noted that the album BadMotorFinger reminded him of Texas, being that it’s warm and friendly but also fucking crazy. This led to the one-two seismic punch of Jesus Christ Pose and Outshined.
He was in good form throughout, hitting all the requisite high notes as well as the soulful crooning on tracks like The Day I Tried To Live, and iconic hit Black Hole Sun. He traded guitar licks with lead player Kim Thayil. Bassist Ben Shepherd held down the bottom end, along with drummer Matt Chamberlain (filling in for Matt Cameron). Cameron’s drum skills are intimidating, but Chamberlain filled in nicely.
A particular highlight was the rollicking Rusty Cage, which Cornell noted was the first of two songs that Johnny Cash covered which would be played tonight (I’m sure you can guess the other).
They closed with Beyond The Wheel, from their début album Ultramega Ok. Cornell offered as pointed social commentary to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.
It was impressive how fast the show setups went. It was almost jarring to see Trent Reznor trot all on his lonesome to kick off the NIN set. The band opened with Copy of A from recent album Hesitation Marks.
Taking a cue from their ACL taping last year, each band member came out in single file, until the sonic assault was complete.
Nine Inch Nails have always been as obsessed with their visual presentation as their music, and that helped fill in the gaps of the massive amphitheatre setting. The best of which happened in Closer, with Reznor singing into a camera which digitized his image.
The band touched on various points in their career, from the sonic assault of March of the Pigs and Eraser, to the sinewy kick of Terrible Lie.
Reznor conjured a white noise synth freak-out during the break down of The Great Destroyer, which synchronized perfectly with the discordant multi-screened visuals.
It was interesting to note that the NIN frontman never acknowledged the crowd with stage banter; it was just a straightforward blitzkrieg. The band closed with an encore of the anthemic Hurt, featuring the iconic music video as backdrop.
The crowd was energized and didn’t seem fazed by the oppressive heat. And barring some sound mix issues, it was a great night for alternative rock in the Texas capital.
I’ve listed both band’s set lists below. Want to own Soundgarden’s Superunknown 20th anniversary deluxe edition? I’ll have an Amazon link after the lists.
Searching With My Good Eye Closed
Jesus Christ Pose
The Day I Tried to Live
Been Away Too Long
Burden in My Hand
Blow Up the Outside World
Fell on Black Days
Black Hole Sun
Beyond the Wheel
Nine Inch Nails Setlist:
Copy of A
Came Back Haunted
March of the Pigs
Find My Way
The Great Destroyer
The Hand That Feeds
Head Like a Hole
[amazon_image id=”B00IXLQJOO” link=”true” target=”_blank” size=”medium” ]Superunknown (20th Anniversary Super Deluxe Edition – 4CD + 1Blu-ray Audio Disc)[/amazon_image]