Nine Inch Nails
The Jesus and Mary Chain
with Gabe Gurnsey
Cold and Black and Infinite
North America 2018
Night #1 from the Aragon Ballroom Chicago
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Trent Reznor took the stage commandingly for the first of a three night residency at the Aragon Ballroom in Chicago, to the strains of "The Firemen", a song from Angelo Badalamenti, an American composer best known for his work scoring films for David Lynch.
How fitting. And that's so badass, and so unmistakably Trent.
The opening salvo for night number one is unrelenting- a full on onslaught of the aggressive and in your face Nine Inch Nails. "Mr. Self Destruct" into "The Perfect Drug" into "Wish".
I mean Jesus.
Trent's shirt and hair were soaked through even after Mr. Self Destruct". The blinding white strobes front / center / back and both sides of the stage may have had something to do with as well. This is truly live performance to extremes, and that says something for a guy who's over the age of fifty.
Easy songs to perform righteously and with unrelenting abandon? I think not. Most of Trent's early back catalog when performed live, have a look and feel of a "pain driven stage act", acted out accordingly. Although, we're far removed form the days of throwing mics and mic stands, smashing guitars to bits, and tossing synths and keyboards into the drum kit.
Still, the look and feel of dread is in the air. You can smell it. You can taste it. You cannot fake that delivery of passion and pain. The songs command it front and center.
And for the first of three nights, we're blessed to hear "The Perfect Drug" performed live for the first time ever on this current North American tour, a song that buries itself in pain and utter defeat. And with a break midway through which has an experimental freeway jam of punishing drums, courtesy of Ilan Rubin.
Ilan is one multi talented dude. Not only an accomplished and excellent drummer, but he also fronts his own band The New Regime, on lead vocals and guitar. We actually have had his band play on our JBTV stage a couple of years ago.
So even on the first of three nights at the Aragon, everything performed live is still unexpected, and to extremes.
What an electrifying show from beginning to end, and guess what? We're graced midway through the show with Trent playing a saxophone, for the song "God Break Down the Door", a song from recently released EP "Bad Witch".
It's fits the freestyle swing that some of Trent's new songs are all about. Not necessarily out there like an Ornette Coleman or Charlie Haden, but still you can't help but hear some of that when it comes to instrumentals and free jam solos.
The whole night is so full of surprises, such as guitarist Robin Finck giving it a go singing vocal , singing his lungs out for "Shit Mirror', and convincingly as well. How about bringing out David Bowie's "I'm Afraid of Americans"? Well done again., with a blistering guitar solo from Robin Finck.
The whole night, wonderful and exhausting, mentally, physically and spiritually.
But it has to come to close sometime, and before the encore, prepare yourselves for the bludgeoning from "Head Like a Hole".
Some minutes later, the encore blasts away with three songs, ending with "Hurt".
"Hurt" all over and by this time exhausted. That is me. And so well worth it.
The Jesus and Mary Chain make full use of their 45 minute set to open the show, with not much stage banter, but plenty of piss and vinegar from their first release "Psychocandy", dating back to 1985, and opening with "Just Like Honey".
Nice to see the brothers Reid attempting to get along as well.
This is a feedback laden times ten wall of sound that they produce, with Bill Reid cranking his Orange amps to 11, and Jim Reid all chameleon like, wrapping his long vocal chord into a bundle along with his mic.
A set from Jesus and Mary Chain so concise and on point, with nothing but pure noise rock delights one after the other, and bathed in solid blues and reds, punched with some white strobes to add flair to the mix.
A true feedback lover's dream, and a great way to open the show.
The Firemen (band intro)
1. Mr. Self Destruct
2. The Perfect Drug
4. Less Than
5. March of the Pigs
6. The Lovers
7. This Isn't the Place
9. Shit Mirror
10. Ahead of Ourselves
11. God Break Down the Door
12. Copy of A
13. Gave Up
14. I'm Afraid of Americans (David Bowie cover)
15. The Hand That Feeds
16. Starfuckers, Inc
17. Head Like a Hole
18. All the Love in the World
19. Over and Out
Jesus and Mary Chain Setlist:
1. Just Like Honey
2. Head On
4. Between Planets
5. All Things Pass
6. Some candy Talking
7. April Skies
8. The Living End
9. Cracking Up
10. Teenage Lust
11. I Hate Rock n' Roll
Photo Credit: Bobby Talamine