10. März 2007


Size Matters - Reznor brings the noise,

if not the light, to the north of England.



Autor: Ian Winwood










JESUS GOD, you think, about time they got going with this anti-smoking legislation its murder in here. Thing is, its not the fug of cigarette smoke that’s choking the Manchester Apollo tonight. Its dry ice pumped from the stage wrapping itself around everything. It’s so you can’t see the figure at the front of the room who walks out without introduction and with the houselights still lit, begins singing “Somewhat Damaged”. The crowd cheer but hesitantly almost nervously it’s only when the silhouette turns sideways and you see its nose can you be sure that it’s Trent Reznor.

The first 10 minutes of Nine Inch Nails‘ second night in England’s third city are irritating and confusing a disaster in the making. Of course this is a band led by a man who is about as likely to make it easy for you as he is to launch into a cover of “Yellow Submarine”. But still. As the musicians judder away beneath five metal lampshades and before five vertical striplights you can’t see what’s going on. The stage-set looks like it came free with five litres of petrol. The sound is perfect but the show is very  — what’s the word — art. Look at your watch… is that all? God. They’re not going to do this all night are they?

Well, yes and no. But at some point during the 105 minute set the experience goes from being the work of an awkward shit who charges 22 quid for this to being a not at all vulgar display of power that leaves 3 000 people sated and elated. As things progress — through an immense “March Of The Pigs”, a livid “Wish” through “Hurt” and “Gave Up” -  the colours lighting the stage begin to blossom, so it doesn’t really matter (actually it even helps) that what you’re watching looks like a UFO landing in thick fog. You can make of it what you will but understand this: Nine Inch Nails are almost 20 years old and people are still hanging on every note that Trent Reznor plays. This is a state of affairs that very few bands can equal. “Starfuckers Inc” bleeds into “Head Like A Hole” and the band leave the stage even though you can’t be a 100 per cent sure about that. All around the crowd makes a noise of the purest adoration. They will be here next time and the next time and the time after that. And while you might not be able to see the band in front of your face, this much is clear.

Ian Winwood


How Was It For You?


“This tour has been kind of brutal, because we‘re playing six shows on and then one night off. On top of that I went from working on [forthcoming Nine Inch Nails album] ‘Year Zero‘ to being onstage. One day was in Los Angeles working on the album, the next day I was standing in front of an audience in Lisbon. I was totally jet lagged. “It can be a little difficult getting your head round what you‘re doing, and at first the tour felt a little bit strange Also we haven’t toured Europe as much as we should have done, which is down to a variety of reasons but all of which are our fault. But now we‘re getting into our stride. Basically we change the set around every night, and we‘re at the point now where we can basically play any song from any album. That means that it doesn‘t become routine for us and so the shows are always fresh.“