Nine Inch Nails (NIN|JA) Verizon Wireless Amphitheater – Irvine Meadows, CA 05/20/2009 Tour Review

Nine Inch Nails - Wave Goodbye Tour 2009 (1989-2009)Nine Inch Nails ripped through amazing set at the Irvine Meadows (or as it is currently known as Verizon Wireless Amphitheater) on May 20, 2009. This is one of the last tours for them.  Nine Inch Nails have been playing extremely rare tracks and Trent Reznor stated on his site that this will be the last tour.  Whatever the case may be, this tour is one of the last of its kind.

Nine Inch Nails - Wave Goodbye - Tour 2009Trent Reznor announced that he was planning on disappearing Nine Inch Nails after this tour.  He has been touring and recording for the last couple of years non stop from the album “With Teeth” to his last “The Slip”.   Having seen him every time he came around since the “With Teeth” album, I can say that this night was both nostalgic and unique at the same time.   He dubbed this tour “Wave Goodbye” with the dates 1989 – 2009 on the concert merchandise (i.e. posters, shirts, hoodies, etc..), yet another sign that he’s ending the band for awhile after this year.  Stripping his light show down and his band

Nine Inch Nails | Wave Goodbye | Tour 2009 | Irvine Meadows | Verizon Wireless Amphitheater | May 05, 2009Trent decided to play rare songs as a treat for fans on this tour.  You can check out how unpredictable his sets are by going here.  This helped build an aura of mysteriousness as to what he was going to play next, since no two shows had the same setlist.  And how fitting that the first song they played this evening, “Now I’m Nothing” is where the name of this tour draws  from.  An ultra rare song that was written around Lollapalooza ’91 era and not played live since then. It was never officially released (although it can be found on the torrent dvd version of The Closure), the song ends with the words  “wave goodbye”.  It was always followed by the song “Terrible Lie” and true to his history that’s exactly what he did (Note: the drum pattern is similar to “Terrible Lie” as well).

They played songs off of The Downward Spiral that are rarely performed live such as “Heresy”, “Reptile”, “The Becoming”, and “Mr. Self Destruct”.  “Heresy” a song about how religion is used to manipulate people was slightly altered live.  Ending with the words

“Will you die for this? Will you kill for this?”

“The Becoming” with it’s unique guitar riff sounded monstrous live and one that I have always wanted to hear live.  “Mr. Self Destruct” began with a drum pattern that would flash in sync with the lights.  It began slowly and built into this masterpiece.  Music like this and songs like Jane’s Addictions “Three Days” paint a picture and draw you in, rather than hand it to you in a plate like 99% of music these days.

Pepsi Throwback Review

Pepsi ThrowbackIn case you haven’t heard, Pepsi just released a soda called “Throwback” where they use Natural Sugar instead of High-Fructose Corn Syrup.   The “Natural Sugar” is composed of part sugar cane and beet sugar.  The other difference between this and a regular Pepsi is that there is no citric acid here to preserve the shelf life of the soda (Pepsi is experimenting with this soda for 8 weeks supposedly).  Is High Fructose Corn Syrup bad?  Well there are critics on both sides.  The ones that say that it’s not bad simply have found studies where it does not directly cause obesity and not intrinsically bad for you.  However, opponents have tested this in rats who were forced to mimic most U.S. types of employment.  That is they were forced to be more sedentary than normal and were allowed to consume as much as they pleased.  The study found that the rats were consuming more and began to have signs of type 2 diabetes.  Basically, the rats sense of fullness was inhibited.  What it really comes down to is preference in taste.

Sepultura 'A-Lex' Review

Sepultura A-Lex CoverWith so many concept albums being so crappy last year (i.e. Judas Priest Nostradamus and Coldplay Viva la Vida or Death and All His Douchebag Friends), Sepultura take a stab at it again with their new album A-Lex.  Their previous album was also a concept album based on The Divine Comedy and called Dante XXI, so this is not uncharted territory for them (and yes I still love that video and song “Territory”).  This album is one heavy mother fucking album.  With only one original member (bassist Paulo Jr. ), most fans have not followed Sepultura’s career without the Cavalera’s but they are sadly mistaken.

The album is lyrically based on the novel and Stanley Kubrick adaptation to film A Clockwork Orange. A-Lex literally translates to “without law” and it is also the protagonist of the novel.  In the novel and film, Alex leads a life of crime and violence.  He ends up being brainwashed by the State using a technique called Ludovico’s which is very similar to the Pavlov’s dog experiment with the added drug injection.  That is it is used to associate things and for Alex they associate two of his favorite things classical music and violence.  However, he ends up being defenseless, as well as harmless and ends up getting his ass kicked.  He tries to kill himself after trying to being manipulated and the technique is reversed so that he can revert to his violent ways.  Then he ends up being bored with the whole violence concept, thinks about settling down and starting a family.   At the same time, he realizes if he were to have children of his own that they would lead a life of destruction and violence like his own.  The whole concept is that violence may be part of our nature, but more importantly is our ability to decide at free-will.  Now can you tell what this album is about, no way.

Sepultura on the set of "We've Lost You" video shootBut this is some of the best metal I’ve heard in a while.  Just like the book, the album starts off with some heavy violent thrash metal.  As soon as the guitar kicks in, you know that you will have your ass handed to you on a platter.  The mid range has enough to hair to it that you will start headbanging right away.  On “A-Lex 1” it sounds like he is getting his gang together and then on “Moloko Mesto” is where the violence begins.  Some of the most intense metal I’ve heard similar to Slayer and Pantera, but not as predictable as most of the metal today.

Bon Iver – Blood Bank EP – Album Review – Track By Track

Bon Iver | Blood Bank EP Album CoverBon Iver new EP Blood Bank changes direction and puts out this weak EP.  The follow up to his masterpiece For Emma, Forever Ago is still in the works, but this EP shows the potential of what it will sound like.  With only 4 tracks (one of which he experiments a little too much), this EP is suppose to wet your appetite on what may sadly come; a crummy experimental record.

“Blood Bank”, the title track, features electric guitars and strings.  He continues with his reverb filled voice, but now he’s got an electric guitar filled with chorus effect to accompany him.  The coda features a misplaced feedback guitar solo.  It sounds like it belongs in a Radiohead tune rather than something from this folksie guy.  He does continue to sing in his The Band like higher pitch vocal style and thats all that this track has going for it.  The mood is right, but ends up in the wrong place (No wonder his band broke up they must have sucked). Listen to this clip with random visuals:

“Beach Baby” is the only track worth listening to on this horrible EP.  Maybe I like his previous album a bit much, but this is the only track that harks back to that out in the woods sound.  It’s got the typical acoustic guitar and vocal sound that works.  The weird Hawaiian like guitar solo seems to work on this track surprisingly.
I swear I heard a toddler play piano like the intro to “Babys” in the local mall, but maybe that is the effect he’s going for.  There is also an acoustic guitar that is strumming along, but this produces a horrible cacophony of nonsense.  Constantly repeating “Summer comes to multiply, to multiply” sounds like he is at a point in his life to have kids or a “fleet” as he claims.  One of the more straightforward lyrically pieces on this album.  Unfortunately, I think babies make more interesting noises in their diapers than this song.

Daniel Martin Moore – Stray Age – Album Review – Sub Pop’s Folk Child

Daniel Martin Moore | Stray Age CoverDaniel Martin Moore had no idea that he would be signed to Sub Pop when he submitted his demos to them the old fashioned way, via mail.  Kentucky is not a place where many great songwriters come from, but we now have one to add.  Being a nomad, he was contacted while working in Costa Rica in a bed and breakfast.  If he had regrettably not submitted his work, we would not have this masterpiece we have today.

He is the shining star or golden folk child for Sub Pop.  The album Stray Age features his vocals and guitar primarly as traditional folk albums of the 60’s and 70’s did.  He may be the next James Taylor, Paul Simon or Bread of this generation.   Sub Pop allows streaming of his album (click here (Note: You need to sign up for a free account)). Check out this video:

Daniel Martin Moore follows the traditional folk line with the use of traditional acoustic folk guitar (no electric guitars are present) and warm / gentle vocals.  He uses the old trick of using a capo similar to James Taylor “Fire And Rain”.  However, it doesn’t sound like he uses alternate tunings (a-la Joni Mitchell), but I could be wrong.  The songs flow one into the other with only a few points where you will notice a difference all while keeping the feeling the same.