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Palladium, Cologne, Germany
14th March 2007
Nine Inch Nails, Ladytron

When the NINE INCH NAILS tour was announced back in last autumn one thing was very sure for us: we need a ticket – no matter what! And it was good to buy them since the show was sold out – like several other ones too. When we arrived at the venue quite early for a working day, anything was still relaxed. We had time to chat with some friends and find a nice place to see the support LADYTRON from Liverpool, who opened the shows due to special personal invitation by Trent Reznor.


The electro pop band LADYTRON was founded 1998 in Liverpool, UK. The band took its name from a song on the first ROXY MUSIC album. LADYTRON are Daniel Hunt, Reuben Wu, Helen Marnie and Mira Aroyo (all synthesizers). The live line-up was enlarged by guitarist and bass player. /

The first album ‘604’ was released 2001 and reminded a lot of the “good old 80s” with its retro electronic sounds. The second album ‘Light & Magic’ was a lot darker. The third album ‘Witching Hour’ was a long time only available as import in Germany, but finally it is released there too. LADYTRON’s music is marked by simple and easy comprehensible sound structures and reminds very often of the minimalist music of the early 80s. Even though I like LADYTRON on CD a lot, the show in Cologne suffered a lot from the terrible sound and acoustics. Also – in my opinion – the setlist was not well chosen for a NIN supporting show. The gig started with ‘High Rise’ from the latest album ‘Witching hour’. The electro-pop songs were broken by staccatos, sometimes also by monotone hammering, but always aristocratic cool and aloof. Further songs being played were i.e. ‘Soft Power’ also from the latest album as well as the well-known hit ‘Seventeen’. ‘Destroy everything you tour’ was ending the show with more present guitars.

The show started short before 20:00 when the core band entered the stage supported by guitarist and bass player. The women wore quite futuristic dresses reminding of Blade Runner. The futuristic appearance was supported by a great light show and several video projections – i.e. the Italian horror classic ‘Susperia’ from 1976 during the first song. All in all, the show was a bit too static to get people warmed up for the following NIN show.

Music 8
Performance 7
Sound 6
Light 9
Total 7.6

Nine Inch Nails

The American industrial rock band was formed end of the eighties by mastermind Trent Reznor in Cleveland/Ohio. Today, he’s the only official member caring for anything – he’s producer, singer, songwriter, and instrumentalist; he is solely responsible for the musical direction of the band. His lyrics usually deal with personal matters, dark explorations of the self. At the moment, we stand short before the released of a new album: ‘Year Zero’ – as it is entitled – will be released mid of April. For his life shows, Trent Reznor usually assembles a live band, which looks at the moment as follows: Trent Reznor, Jeordie White, Josh Freese, Alessandro Cortini and Aaron North. /

They came all of a sudden, and they were gone all of a sudden. What is definitely NOT true for the career of Trent Reznor’s NINE INCH NAILS (at least they’re not gone yet!) is pretty much true for their show at the Palladium in Cologne, Germany. After a semi-exciting support gig by LADYTRON, which suffered from horrible acoustics and the static appearance of the Electro-Pop band, the fans were waiting for the headliner while the roadies still seemed to be busy with checking the instruments and stuff like that. For some strange reason the fog machines on the stage were running which added up to a very strange atmosphere together with the full-on headlights. The whole Palladium was flooded with blinding white light and white fog. The venue was packed (another sold out show for NIN) and so was the stage. Maybe fifteen people were on stage doing this and doing that, and I’ve just noticed that the guitar technician was handing over the guitar to someone else when I heard some kind of familiar sounds…

Music and Performance
Abruptly Trent Reznor appeared on stage and started singing the first lines of ‘Somewhat Damaged’! Everyone was taken by surprise, as the headlights on the ceiling were still on! Adrenaline rushed, Trent Reznor and his band mates really dumfounded their audience and with no warning we’re in the middle of a concert. The lights were only turned off halfway through the first song, and then we could finally see the stage of the NINE INCH NAILS 2007. It’s more spartan than the last time, the swinging lamps which they already used back in 1999 were still there and blaze their now infamous “UFO”-like impression. NIN started with maximum speed with tracks like ‘Heresy’ or ‘March of the Pigs’ and only five songs into the set we got some rest with the dark ‘Piggy’. Trent Reznor jumped into the pit in front of the stage, holding hands of people in the first row, and he even let some fans sing a few lines. Quite a Rock star pose for a singer who claims to hate Rock star poses but I guess no one in the audience complained.

After the full-speed start NIN performed now some rather mid-tempo, darker and less straight-forward stuff. Still pretty intense and noisy! Trent Reznor didn’t communicate much with the audience so far, everyone knows that this isn’t his style anyway, but in the middle of the set he suddenly become loquacious. He asked if we’re having a good time so far and started to tell the story when NIN came to Germany in 1991 to open for GUNS’N ROSES und SKID ROW in Mannheim. Trent told us that he noticed his big mistake as soon as he went on stage as 65,000 Hard Rock fans showed him that they were not very happy about bands mixing electronics with guitars. The story of sausages and beer mugs thrown at Trent Reznor by “retarded Heavy Metal fans”, as Reznor put it, was fairly amusing for everyone in the audience. He said he was happy that shows like this one tonight have convinced him that Germany is not full of people like that, and that he is quite happy about finally playing some club shows in Germany instead of festivals in the middle of nowhere. “This is probably the longest I have ever talked on stage!”, he added, “but to be honest I just wanted to give Josh, our drummer, a break as he is sick at the moment.”

In fact NIN had to cancel a few shows just a couple of days before the Cologne show because of Josh Fresse’s indisposition! Enough talk, let’s go back to maximum speed – and ‘Wish’ from 1992 was just perfect for that! The new single ‘Survivalism’ followed and was obviously familiar to many fans, together with ‘The Beginning of The End’ the only new song from the forthcoming album ‘Year Zero’. After a couple of more songs, including the hellish groove of ‘Only’, the most touching and moving concert moment of the last months came in: Standing at the edge of the stage behind an electric piano, merely illuminated with a white spot from the back, Trent Reznor delivered an intense rendition of the ballad ‘Hurt’ which gave us all goose bumps down the spine, and the whole place was singing along. After this haunting moment we got some relief with the up-tempo ‘The Hand That Feeds’, which provided high activity in the mosh pit. The classic, anthem-like ‘Head like a Hole’ was one of the few songs which can top that, and it did! The breakthrough-single off the NINE INCH NAILS debut ‘Pretty Hate Machine’ was still a fan fave. And then, as the last sound and the last beat of the snare drum trail off the houselights are turned on! The band was vanished, the stage was empty and the venue was again flooded with this surreal, blinding light. They came all of a sudden, they were gone all of a sudden.

A truly excellent show! Keep your fingers crossed that NIN will come back to Europe later this summer, and make sure that you won’t miss them!

01. Somewhat Damaged (w/ houselights on)
02. Last
03. Heresy
04. March of the Pigs
05. Piggy
06. Ruiner
07. Closer (w/ The Only Time breakdown)
08. The Beginning Of The End
09. Burn
10. Gave Up
11. Help Me I Am In Hell
12. Eraser
13. Wish
14. Survivalism
15. Suck
16. The Day the World Went Away
17. Only
18. Hurt
19. The Hand That Feeds
20. Head Like a Hole

Music: 10
Performance: 10
Sound: 7
Light: 8
Total: 9.3

Ladytron pictures

All pictures by Karsten Thurau (

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