A Wall of Sound and Nails

By on August 15, 2014
Nine Inch Nails iconic frontman Trent Reznor (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

Nine Inch Nails iconic frontman Trent Reznor (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

 

The heavily anticipated Soundgarden and Nine Inch Nails co-headlining show arrived in the Tampa Bay area on Monday at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheater.  Hopefully for all in attendance, but definitely for some, including myself, it was a special night. When this tour was first announced, the lineup sounded strangely interesting. And with Dillinger Escape Plan opening the show, three different genres of music were on the agenda.

 

Dillinger Escape Plan opened the show as a lot of fans arrived at the venue.  For those of you not familiar with Dillinger Escape Plan’s music, Dillinger Escape Plan is a very aggressive band.  Dillinger Escape Plan also does what they do very well.  With elements of progressive metal mixed with hardcore, punk, and using odd musical time structures and dirty vocals, Dillinger Escape Plan can prove to be too much to the untrained ear of this genre of metal. That situation proved to be a good thing for the Amphitheater’s concession stands and provided opportunities to catch up with people that you always see at the rock shows in the Bay area.

Chris Cornell, Soundgarden  (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

Chris Cornell, Soundgarden (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

 

Soundgarden was next to take the big stage in support of their 2012 release, King Animal, and played a great set of music that included Soundgarden’s hits and a surprise or two.  Opening with

“Searching with My Good Eye Closed” and then “Spoonman,” it was evident once again that Chris Cornell is the epitome of smooth. Cornell is a crooner on the same level as any of the greats before him and has a sound and style all his own: as does Soundgarden.

 

Soundgarden is considered a founding father of the grunge sound and era, but I never really put them in that category. Nirvana and Pearl Jam are grunge to me.  Soundgarden was different from grunge due to their classic Black Sabbath influence, not the lyrics of their songs, but their music.  Dark and brooding drop tuned guitar and bass licks by Kim Thayill and Ben Shepard matched up with Chris Cornell’s psychedelic song writing has proved to be a Hall of Fame combination.

Kim Thyil, SoundGarden, (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

Kim Thyil, Soundgarden, (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

 

After “Spoonman” was completed, I looked back at the crowd from the photo pit and was amazed to see that 12,000 or so fans had packed the Amphitheater. Most of the stadium seats were filled and the lawn section was also crowded. Soundgarden continued with “Flower” then “Outshined,” and then mixed in a deep track with their “had to play” hits with their final song in “Beyond The Wheel.” This song seemed strange at first to end their set as you would of thought “Black Hole Sun” would be the finale, but “Beyond The Wheel” was a perfect end to Soundgarden’s set.

Soundgarden Chris Cornell (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

Soundgarden Chris Cornell (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

 

Kim Thayill was the last one to leave the stage after playing the last notes and then walked off stage with a coolness and swagger, knowing that Soundgarden’s performance tonight was top notch.  The fans let Thayill know that they thought so too, with their rousing cheers of approval.  Amongst those showing his approval was a good friend’s 17 year-old son, a guitar virtuoso who was raised on Iron Maiden and Megadeth, with a healthy dose of AudioSlave and Avenged mixed in. After listening to Audioslave, (Chris Cornell’s project with the members of Rage Against the Machine) he picked up the early releases from Soundgarden and incorporated their style into his music. To see a young man’s smile when listening to the music that you grew up with, the same music that people put you down for listening to, always reminds me of the spirit of the music, how much it means to us, and that music is timeless. Other highlights of Soundgarden’s set were their hits, “Fell on Black Days” and “Rusty Cage” but I am a little biased because I love those songs.

Trent Reznor NINE INCH NAILS (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

Trent Reznor NINE INCH NAILS (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

 

Up next was tonight’s headliner in Trent Reznor and Nine Inch Nails. I’ve never seen Nine Inch Nails before but I am familiar with their music, and have been looking forward to seeing them for the first time.

 

Trent Reznor is Nine Inch Nails and is a legend in the music industry. Reznor is the standard bearer for Industrial music and has been named in Time Magazine’s list of Most Influential People. Reznor writes all of the music and then enlists musicians for his tours. This has worked for Reznor to a tune of over twenty million albums sold and multiple awards.

 

I was 18 when Pretty Hate Machine came out, and other than some Ministry, I had never heard of Industrial music before. I didn’t gravitate to that style of music back then as I was strictly a hard core rock/metal fan, but I appreciated it, and after tonight show, I appreciated it even more.

 

Nine Inch Nails opened with “Somewhat Damaged,” and Reznor’s intensity was already on overdrive and continued throughout their whole set of 16 songs. With moving walls of strobing lights in synch with throbbing drum tracks and synthesizers, it was a sight and sound extravaganza. The audio and visuals attacked your senses with an almost trance like effect.

Trent Reznor (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

Trent Reznor (photo Travis Failey / RSEN)

 

Reznor gave the fans the hits that they wanted in “Terrible Lie,” “Wish” and of course, “Head Like a Hole.” Nine Inch Nails finished their set with “Hurt.” Trent Reznor, along with his band mates, Ilan Rubin on drums, Alessandro Cortini on keyboard and guitar, and Robin Finck on guitar, provided a memorable performance.

 

All though some might say that a Soundgarden and Nine Inch Nails co-headlining tour should have happened 20 years ago, I disagree. Yes, it would have been a good show back then.  But the appreciation of the fans in attendance at the MidFlorida Credit Union Amphitheater on Monday night was obvious from the start of the show to the climactic finish.  After seeing a lot of performances of late of bands 20 plus years old, I have to give props to Chris Cornell and Trent Reznor.  Both of these professionals have managed to keep their voices true to form.  I would definitely recommend that you check out this tour if it comes to a venue near you.

For more information on:

Nine Inch Nails www.nin.com

Soundgarden www.soundgardenworld.com

The Dillinger Escape Plan www.dillingerescapeplan.org

OTHER TRAVIS FAILEY PHOTOS

Chris Cornell01Trent Reznor01Chris Cornell04Trent Reznor02Chris Cornell05Trent Reznor03

 

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