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POP MUSIC REVIEW : Nine Inch Nails Hit It With the Moshers

March 11, 1994|HEIDI SIEGMUND

Nine Inch Nails' new album may be titled "The Downward Spiral," but things seem anything but bleak for the industrial-rock band, which performed its first live set in 2 1/2 years on Wednesday to an adoring crowd of moshers, goth-rockers and celebrities at the Helter Skelter club in Hollywood.

When word got out that Trent Reznor--the wizard behind Nails' powerful, poetic music--would be performing the unannounced show, fans began lining up in mid-afternoon outside the aptly named club. (Reznor recorded the new album at the Benedict Canyon home where actress Sharon Tate and others were slain by followers of Charles Manson in 1969.)

About 150 black-clad hopefuls didn't make it in to the 400-capacity room, and they really did miss out as Reznor and his four musicians seemed anything but out of practice during their intense and loud, hour-plus set of old and new NIN music. At times, the band even appeared to exercise a bit of restraint, seemingly to keep the intense mosh pit from swallowing up the stage.

Although "Spiral" was just released Tuesday, most of the audience--which included guitarist Steve Vai, MTV veejay Kennedy and record producer Rick Rubin--appeared to know the lyrics to the five new songs Reznor performed.

During one memorable chant from the new "Heresy"--"Your God is dead/And no one cares/If there is a hell/ I'll see you there"--it was clear that most of the worshipful crowd had found a new rock 'n' roll deity in the compelling Reznor.

The show was a warm-up for an international NIN tour that kicks off the first week of April in Australia before heading to L.A. later that month.

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