Nine Inch Nails & Queens Of The Stone Age

Nine Inch Nails & Queens Of The Stone Age

Flashback to August 22nd, 2013, and Twitter was the bearer of bad news for music lovers when festival mogul/ Soundwave founder, AJ Maddah, announced that industrial rock giants Nine Inch Nails would not be joining the 2014 line up. After a series of tweets backwards and forward over the social media site, legendary frontman, Trent Reznor, broke the silence and informed the Australian public that “we love you and we're coming”. 2 months later, through intense rumours speculating online, it was finally announced that Nine Inch Nails would be doing a double headline tour with Californian rockers, Queens of the Stone Age to promote both bands latest efforts (Hesitation Marks, …Like Clockwork, respectively)

Fast forward to tonight, they’re 6 shows strong into their Australian tour and going for 7 at the Brisbane Entertainment Centre. But who’s heading the stage first out of these 2 heavyweight contenders? A backstage coin toss will tell, leaving the patrons and punters in the audience kept in suspense until one of these bands makes their grand entrance on to the stage.

First up to start the night is Australian born punk rocker, Brody Dalle (The Distillers, Spinnerette). The raspy, contralto voiced singer took to the stage with her band and kicked off the night with some old school Distillers songs, to say the crowd were pleased would be an understatement. Between fists being pumped and necks receiving a workout from all the head banging, Brody geared the crowd up for the bigger things to come tonight. Through walls of distorted guitar noise and fuzzing basslines, the crowd were treated to some new material off Brody’s solo release, Diploid Love, which proved to go over well with fans old and new judging by the reactions of many. Sadly, it felt like it was over as fast as it began, our brief encounter with Brody came to an end.

Finally, after listening to a crowd ask each other “Who do you think is next?” for 20 minutes, Alessandro Cortini answered that for us by walking on stage and beginning A Warm Place by Nine Inch Nails. Yep, looks like QOTSA won the coin toss (Presuming whoever won goes last that is)! And within the space of a few seconds, Cortini was joined on stage by Reznor, with Ilan Rubin and Robin Finck filling out the rest of the touring band. Instantly, the entertainment centre erupted with applause, but there was no “Hello, we’re Nine Inch Nails” from these guys, it was straight down to business.

The band went right into some of their biggest hits including Somewhat Damaged, Survivalism and March Of The Pigs, raising the ante with each song performed. Reznor’s touring band had all members on different instruments, Rubin was backwards and forwards between drums, guitars, bass, keys and vocals. This certainly proved entertaining to witness and displayed the band members showmanship.

If the crowd wasn’t fist pumping or jumping franticly up and down, they were in a mellow trance as band performed songs from all eras of their musical catalogue, a perfect mix of old and new, ranging from 1989’s Pretty Hate Machine to 2013’s Hesitation Marks. An elaborate light production went well with the music, as one attendee behind me labelling it as a “strobelight convention”, the eyes certainly got a visual treat between the almost continuous blinding bursts of white light.

Ending the set with crowd favourites Wish, Head Like A Hole and The Hand That Feeds, it was Hurt that sealed the deal for many. The stripped back, suicidal anthem had lighters and phones in the air as Reznor delivered a very emotional performance that had the crowd screaming for more, but the set was over. The band waved goodbye and left the stage with the last 3 droning notes of Hurt still echoing through the Entertainment Centre.

After a quick interval, the stage was set up for Queens of the Stone Age with a timer counting down from 60. As it got closer to zero, the crowd started cheering and counting along. “10, 9, 8, 7”, the hands went in the air and started clapping, “6, 5, 4”, then came the cheers and wolf whistles that filled the centre, “3, 2, 1”, and then it was game on as the Queens made their big entrance and started their set with You Think I Ain't Worth a Dollar, but I Feel Like a Millionaire. Straight after, they went into Grammy award nominated song, No One Knows. The crowd went ecstatic, enthusiastic air guitarists everywhere played along shamelessly.

“Brisbane, how the fuck are you? We’re gonna have a good time tonight” says Josh Homme, frontman of QOTSA, before kicking into My God Is The Sun and the crowd starts jiving along to. The charismatic frontman croons and swoons through the set, lighting cigarettes while entertaining his audience. Their tight performance featuring sensational riff-driven anthems, bombastic drum beats and sexual bass grooves comes to a high point during Make It Wit Chu off their 2007 album, Era Vulgaris. The couples in the audience wrap their arms around each other, friends become brothers-in-arms and begin singing along to the infectious chorus. Homme gets the audience to sing while the band quietens down, only for him to ask “just the ladies” to sing along.

After the mellow slow jam, the band brings back the biff with Sick, Sick, Sick to have the crowd erupts once again. The mosh pit becomes a frenzy, with hair and sweat filling the dense air. Crowd surfers are being ordered to stop by security, but are told off by Homme mid song to let the crowd know “they can look after themselves, everyone can do what they wanna do”, which incites 5 other crowd surfers to join in on the action. The band play Go With The Flow before walking off stage, the audience applauding them off… Only to have them return for an encore. You didn’t think it was over that soon did you?

The band returns with The Vampyre of Time and Memory off their …Like Clockwork album, before busting into Feel Good Hit of the Summer which has the crowd cheering along to all 7 words of the 3 minute long song, before ending the night with the stop-start anthem, A Song for the Dead.

With the ears ringing and a shirt drenched in sweat, the faces within the pit were priceless. The night was a success, with Nine Inch Nails bringing the angst while Queens of the Stone Age delivered the groove. But if there’s one thing that’s for sure, these bands performing at Soundwave would have been wasted. This was certainly an event not to be missed.
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