Nine Inch Nails, Soundgarden at Gexa Energy Pavilion, 8/17/14

Categories: Last Night

NiN-11.jpg
Mike Brooks
Nine Inch Nails sweated it out with the crowd at Gexa on Sunday
Nine Inch Nails
With Soundgarden and Cold Cave
Gexa Energy Pavilion, Dallas
Sunday, August 17, 2014

While some folks may have been attending religious services this Sunday evening, I found myself wandering around Fair Park in need of some classic alternative rock of the '80s and '90s variety. Seeing that a terrific double bill of Soundgarden and Nine Inch Nails was in town to play at Gexa Energy Pavilion, I was in the right place at the right time.

Thankfully, a surprise summer thunderstorm cooled things off enough to make an outside show in August quite acceptable. Well, at least at first it was. Once the sun went down and the breeze became negligible, the 85 degrees and 85% humidity turned the venue into a rather stinky sweatbox.

See also:
Soundgarden's Kim Thayil: "We Have Never Made a Record That Sucked"
Nine Inch Nails and Soundgarden Screaming to Dallas (Yes, It's Still a Big Deal)
The Five Silliest Things Trent Reznor Has Ever Said, in Honor of Nine Inch Nails Reforming

As the masses poured inside, one thing became perfectly clear: tonight would be a night of lines -- long, long lines. For some obscure reason, gates were not opened until 7:00 p.m. and the resulting queue was 200 deep in an instant. Security was especially tight and extremely slow. By the time Soundgarden hit the stage at around 8:00, barely two-thirds of the crowd had made their way inside.

All of which is a shame because Chris Cornell and crew were outstanding. Playing basically a greatest hits set, Soundgarden mined those Led Zeppelin influences for all they were worth. Beginning with "Searching with My Good Eye Closed" and quickly transitioning into "Spoonman," Soundgarden were on top of their game all night. The crowd responded accordingly by shouting along with each chorus and swaying like a sweaty collection of grunge zombies.

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Mike Brooks

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Mike Brooks

When Soundgarden launched into "Outshined," the audience became one with the band. It was as if those in attendance were transformed back to 1984 when everyone was a hell of a lot thinner and perhaps a little less stoned. Finishing the set (predictably) with "Rusty Cage" and "Black Hole Sun," Soundgarden left the fans wanting more. You can't ask for more than that. Or can you?

Well, you can ask for remotely clean restroom facilities. By far the worst of any local venue, the restrooms at Gexa are deplorable. A large stream of tainted water flowed incessantly as men and women tried to relieve the call of nature. God help the guy wearing sandals in front of me as the stream from hell gathered steam and made its way to God knows where. But despite the disgraceful conditions, the line grew and grew as folks just had to do what they had to do.

When Nine Inch Nails hit the stage at 9:30, many bailed from the bathroom line and decided to hold on the best they could. Judging by the conditions of the lawn area, I am sure a few bloated patrons decided to make due against a wall figuring no one would detect a difference.

But whatever discomfort fans may have had, Trent Reznor certainly alleviated the pain with a sensual dose of easy-to-digest industrial rock. Opening with "Copy of A," Reznor quickly engaged the crowd with his trademark sneer and the sheer physicality of his music.

Nine Inch Nails are successful because Reznor has found a way to produce music that just appears to be edgy. When compared to Ministry or Skinny Puppy, Nine Inch Nails are really closer to Depeche Mode. Sure, Reznor over emotes at every conceivable moment and the music does have its distorted cleverness, but it's a manufactured angst. It's like the difference between a gentleman's club and Hooters. Somehow, Reznor has made seedy, electronic rock appealing to the masses. Hell, these days he looks more like a high school history teacher anyway.

And more power to him. Songs like "Sanctified," "March of Pigs" and "Reptile" were seductive and damn catchy. There's no denying Reznor's ability to tame industrial music and make it palatable for a larger audience. By the time the band made it to "Head Like a Hole" and "Hurt," both artist and audience looked weathered and ready for bed.

The humidity hit those exiting like an anvil as fans of both Soundgarden and Nine Inch Nails left satisfied, sweltered and in serious need of a shower.

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Mike Brooks

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Mike Brooks


Location Info

Map

Gexa Energy Pavilion

1818 First Ave., Dallas, TX

Category: Music

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19 comments
yankee011
yankee011

Chris Cornell can't sing those tunes no more

jww98w
jww98w

The mix was awful during NIN.  The vocals were inaudible most of the time.  Still a good set.  I loved the quick open while the set was being brought on, it reminded me of the first performance in Talking Heads' "Stop Making Sense." 


Soundgarden sounded great. 

doomius
doomius

Transformed back to 1984?


Did you see the Van Halen/Motley Crue double bill by accident?

the_dude47
the_dude47

soundgarden kicked azz, i left after a few nin songs as it went from a rock concert to a night at the roxbury.....i just can't stand lame techno dance bs. 

Steeve
Steeve

Are you really saying Soundgarden is better than NiN?


What a stupid little jackoff you are.

GLB1
GLB1

Exactly when did Nine Inch Nails play Reptile last night at Gexa?  Did you attend another concert?

paulpsycho78
paulpsycho78

@jww98w your first foray into gexa/starplex/giveusallyourfuckingmoneyampitheater I take it?  Those PA speakers are from Van Halens first US tour.

paulpsycho78
paulpsycho78

@jakesereno this shit doesn't happen at three links..hmmmmm,,,maybe cuz burleson nascar jesus types dont go there maybe

HarperF
HarperF

@the_dude47 Completely the reason why this concert was off imo. I was only there for NIN and I'm sure a lot of ppl were only there for one of the two main bands, not both. The sounds of Soundgarden and NIN do not really mesh and I think the mixed crowd dulled things down a bit. I have been to some insane NIN shows but this was lame and the set list was too many hits. I like Soundgarden and all, but they should have had their own show while Cold Cave and NIN had their own separate thing. Maybe ticket prices would have been cheaper then too! ;)

Jumbles
Jumbles

They both suck, and are aged, Steeeeeeeeeve...

JustSaying
JustSaying

@Steeve  To be fair, he prefers the style of music of Steely Dan to both of them.

darrylrs
darrylrs

@Steeve I didn't say that. I prefer the style of music of Soundgarden better than NIN.

darrylrs
darrylrs

@GLB1 Maybe it was heatstroke, but when I wrote this review at 1 am, I was humming "Reptile" and could have sword I heard it. I know Reznor incorporates little bits of songs before and after. Perhaps I heard a bit of "Reptile." Judging by the amount of water I lost in sweat, I was definitely there. 

JustSaying
JustSaying

@darrylrs You used Wikipedia to prove your point? Even most music snobs didn't know who Soundgarden was until the Louder than Love record dropped in late '89. They got their first real publicity in 91 with Badmotorfinger. The masses didn't discover them until Superunknown in 1994.


In short, Doomius was correct.

darrylrs
darrylrs

@JustSaying @Steeve I also prefer Black Flag, Husker Du, The Replacements, Rolling Stones, the Who, the Beatles, Van Morrison, Captain Beefheart, Frank Zappa, Fleetwood Mac, Lighnin' Hopkins, John Lee Hooker, The Byrds, Cheap Trick, The Jayhawks, The Ramones and the Pogues to that of Soundgarden or NIN. and Steely Dan.

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