Nine Inch Nails offers more substance in their live shows 

The perfect drug … for live music fans

click to enlarge 1576959.jpg


7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 31 | Amway Center, 400 W. Church St. | 407-440-7000 | | $35.50-$99.50

The return of Nine Inch Nails with Hesitation Marks this year made a louder statement than many of the nostalgic band revivals happening around it (like, say, the Pixies). Trent Reznor’s affinity for the computer as a serious instrument was before its time, and that mindset arguably fits in better now than it did back in 1990, when Pretty Hate Machine rattled car stereos. His new songs stylistically and lyrically meld with what other current electronic artists are doing, as the skeletal framework of tracks like “Copy of A” demonstrates, as if the dense original NIN sound experienced data loss in the copying process. But that isn’t to suggest Reznor has lost his edge.

I started digging around in old archives to see how Reznor explained his compositions in the early days and was struck by a 1999 interview I found in the U.K. rock magazine Kerrang!. In it, Reznor says, “When we started off NIN in 1990, it was an experiment in taking music that was done on a computer in the studio and seeing how you could present it live. It didn’t need to sound the same. And when we got done with Pretty Hate Machine, it was way better live than on record.”

Live music fans nowadays lessen their expectations for touring electronic acts, because they know that a laptop and – if they’re lucky – a video projector or light show don’t always translate into that spectacular onslaught of a full band unleashing a peak performance. It led me to wonder whether show-goers have become so complacent that artists no longer strive to embolden their recordings live, in other words: to put on a show?

Reznor went on, “The instrumentation – a guitarist, drummer, keyboard player and myself – was meant to add aggression and make a show that people could see and go, ‘Fuck! I didn’t expect that!’ The last thing I wanted to do was to have two guys with a drum pad and a tape.” But that’s exactly what we get these days. Perhaps on this tour, as Reznor again fills out the stage with a full band, the artists of this new fold will be inspired not only by what Reznor does on his computer, but also by his compelling live music.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Orlando Weekly works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Central Florida.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Orlando’s true free press free.


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.

Read the Digital Print Issue

November 25, 2020

View more issues


© 2020 Orlando Weekly

Website powered by Foundation