Concertgoers Get A Faceful Of Nails 

Show Review

Even 40 minutes after the last shredded notes of "Head Like a Hole" faded from the Idaho Center, I still thought my eardrums were bleeding. No matter; if I'm going to suffer permanent hearing loss, the hours of music provided by Sunday night headliner Nine Inch Nails and opening acts Bauhaus and TV on the Radio are a damn good way to leave the world of the hearing-unimpaired.

Brooklyn-based TV on the Radio kicked off with a power set, capped by Tunde Adebimpe's soaring vocals and antic energy. Although TVOTR made their reputation with a mix of avant-garde jazz and blues, the set they delivered was straightforward power rock, salted with Adebimpe's stylized gyrations--he calls to mind both Otis Redding and David Byrne in his movements--and a hopeful vibe borrowed from Sly and the Family Stone. I couldn't tell you the names of any of the songs they performed, although I suspect at least one of them was a cover, but based on that set, they're a band worth seeking out.

After TVOTR closed out their gig, it was time for Bauhaus to blow the doors off. Generally considered the first Goth rock band, they kicked out the stops, merging Kevin Haskins' frenetic drumming, the twin guitar attack of Daniel Ash and David J and Peter Murphy's decadently aristocratic voice into a full-on post-punk attack. Murphy especially was in fine form, playing up Bauhaus' Goth history with frills-and-black attire and performance-art dancing; he even donned a cape for "Bela Lugosi's Dead." Although not a Bauhaus fan when I walked in, I may change my mind; their set was invigorating and energetic.

And then, after two hours of excellence, the main event hit the stage: Nine Inch Nails. The current lineup includes members, past and present, of Marilyn Manson, the Icarus Line and A Perfect Circle, but everybody came to see Trent Reznor. Sporting a nearly-shaved head and buff physique--the new Reznor looks like the kind of guy who would've beat up the old Reznor in high school--he attacked his repertoire with zest, turning the electro-pop of "Sin" into a full-barrage guitar stomp and making "March of the Pigs" into an incendiary workout for superhuman drummer Josh Freese.

Oddly, Reznor and friends stayed away from his latest, With Teeth, for the most part, using only three cuts--"Only," "You Know What You Are?" and "The Hand That Feeds"--the entire evening. The set was heavily weighted toward NiN's first three releases and almost completely avoided his two-disc opus The Fragile, which isn't necessarily bad (although I wanted to hear "We're In This Together Now," as well as "Sunspots" from With Teeth). But, the songs were played with fire and fury, and Reznor's energy and good humor never flagged during the two-hour set, even taking time near the show's end to acknowledge and praise the opening acts. High-octane music and a touch of class make a heady mix, and it made Sunday's concert a helluva good time.

--Brandon Nolta

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