Nine Inch Nails performed an hourlong set for Austin City Limits, but it wasn't one of their typical concerts with elaborate lighting and effects. "We came here and we said we don't want this to turn into a Nine Inch Nails show, we want Nine Inch Nails to come into Austin City Limits and be out of our element," Trent Reznor told the crowd.
The band performed at Austin's Moody Theater in November of last year, but their episode didn't air until April 5th, 2014. You can watch the full video above.
They kicked off the performance with the mellow "All Time Low," the first of several tracks from last year's Hesitation Marks. The song set the stage for the performance, with an almost symphonic orchestration and a mutating series of of melodies and textures. The song faded out and Trent Reznor addressed the audience briefly before breaking into "Sanctified," a slow-burning crowd pleaser from 1989's Pretty Hate Machine. Like the rest of the set, the track had a much more organic feeling, with the addition of excellent backup vocalists and Pino Palladino's groovy bassline.
Hesitation Marks tracks "Came Back Haunted" and "Copy of A" followed, with acoustic drums and a massively effected bass. The layers of synth sounds differ from the album versions quite a bit, but they add a slightly more improvisational feel.
A performance of paired tracks -- "The Frail" and "The Wretched" -- came next, giving old school fans a taste of NIN's 1999 No. 1 album, The Fragile. Gritty riffs, ambient soundscapes, and a wild guitar solo build up to the climax, moments before the track fades out into nothing. "The Big Come Down" comes next, a track from the same record. Things loosen up for the last half of the track, as Josh Eustis and Robin Finck shred the guitars and Ilan Rubin beats the hell out of the drums.
Subdued Year Zero cut "In This Twilight" sees Trent turn to the piano and calm things down for a moment, before flowing into Hesitation Marks' "While I'm Still Here." The track is another quiet jam, slowly building in classic NIN style to a sax solo, with soulful vocals and ethereal synths climbing in the background.
They finish the show with The Downward Spiral's closer, "Hurt." The sparse instrumentation and passionate vocals surge forward and pull back half a dozen times before the song ends, then trail off into a slow fade. Check out the full performance above.
After the set, Trent Reznor speaks to ACL about his creative process and the identity of Nine Inch Nails.
Nine Inch Nails Austin City Limits setlist:
"All Time Low"
"Came Back Haunted"
"Copy of A"
"The Frail / The Wretched"
"The Big Come Down"
"In This Twilight"
"While I'm Still Here"
Nine Inch Nails Austin City Limits band credits:
Alessandro Cortini - tape loops, synthesizers, vocals
Josh Eustis - guitars, keyboards, vocals
Robin Finck - guitar, keyboards, vocals
Lisa Fischer - vocals
Sharlotte Gibson - vocals
Pino Palladino - bass
Trent Reznor - vocals, piano
Ilan Rubin - drums, piano, sequencing, ukulele, vocals
Rob Sheridan - creative director
As a web exclusive, Austin City Limits posted video of the band's performance of "Satellite," which you can watch here at Zumic. For more music, news, videos, and tour dates, check out their Zumic artist page.
Source: ACL TV Official Website