[Review text by maise, AWESOME videos by Iris--check out all links, they're worth it!]
Well, friends, for reasons I will explain shortly, I'm still MORTALLY OFFENDED by Gabriel, the so-called revolutionary, and I WILL have my revenge, but first things first. Let's go back to happier days, shall we? Days when the WTC'ers admired elaborate cream-colored Baroque buildings, when we conquered yet another European public transportation system, when we were charmed by every Austrian we met, when Gabriel inadvertently ordered white sausages and discovered that they were good, when I finally lived my personal European dream and ate Apfelstrudel in Vienna...sigh. [Would anyone in Vienna like to adopt me? I can speak German halfway decently, and I will work for pastry. Schicken Sie mir eine Email, bitte!]
On our second day in this lovely city, we were concerned about Dierdre, who was suffering from a migraine (and having suffered through a migraine while riding on a train from Rome to Pompeii, I can assure you that being in an exciting European location does not make this condition any easier to endure), and we were a bit baffled by Trent's performance the evening before. Although from where I was sitting, the 3/29 show sounded perfect, those down in the pit were concerned that Trent's performance was rather mechanical and half-hearted. Well, we now know that there happened to be a number of upsetting personal issues for Trent that could have contributed to this perception, but since we weren't aware of any of these, we just blamed the whole thing on Rob Sheridan and his nefarious Trentbot, which we presumed he invented after the real Trent fell into a coma and was hidden somewhere in an underground vault in Iceland. Trentbot, you see, would keep the NIN machine going in Trent's absence and would ensure that Rob could continue to get laid. That was the theory, anyway. We found the idea of another Trentbot performance distressing, but we hoped for the best as we rode the U-Bahn to the Gasometer that evening.
I need to give props to whoever transformed the Gasometer from an actual gas tank into a mall/concert venue. The acoustics are (to my untrained ghostly ear) fantastic, and the security staff could not be any more efficient and polite. They detected every lit cigarette in the crowd and ensured its extinguishment, and if anyone was causing trouble in the pit, he/she was hoisted out immediately. If you asked them questions, you received a considerate answer. I didn't even feel manhandled during my pat-down on the way in and was complimented on my German on top of it. Delightful! The venue is small and intimate, and even when we arrived perhaps only half an hour or so before the show, we could still get close to the stage. In fact, the only thing keeping me from being only a few rows away from Trent was my claustrophobia. So on 3/30, I was hanging out by the sound board, approximately 10 feet away from Rob Sheridan most of the evening, who is kind of shorter and skinnier than I had imagined. It actually was kind of interesting to observe all the work going on at the sound board, but since you're more interested in video footage of Trent with a tambourine, I'll move on.
The evening began, of course, with Ladytron, who really impressed me on both nights. Previously, I had only been aware of their music via this fanfiction horror, but even then, I wondered, "Who does this catchy song?" There is a part of me that wishes I were a member of Ladytron, with an impenetrable coolness and a super-cute bob, but alas! That will never be me. Give me a moment to weep over my messy house, tedious day-job with looming deadlines, and the 10 pounds I need to lose pronto.
Okay. On to NIN! Check out the setlist, everyone! It was VERY exciting to hear so much from The Downward Spiral, especially "Heresy" and "The Becoming," (see below) both of which I had always wanted to hear live. Check out Trent busting out the um...electric coconut for "Piggy." There was a funny moment for me personally, as during the major Downward Spiral portion of the setlist at the beginning of the show, I saw the guys at the soundboard literally run out of the room with some computer screen. They returned during "Last," so I thought to myself, "Oh no, the Trentbot must have gotten stuck in Downward Spiral-mode!"
But luckily for us, Trentbot was nowhere to be found, and we got the REAL Trent Reznor, in all of his fist-fucking glory. Those who were in the pit said that the difference between the shows on 3/29 and 3/30 was like night and day, which is heartening news. One would hate to think that Trent was mortally afflicted with ennui. Other highlights for me that night included "Last," "Mr. Self Destruct," and "Get Down, Make Love." Oh, and I totally enjoyed inappropriate WHOO-ing during "La Mer." What is with that? Makes me wonder if back in the day, there were those who heard the first notes of the "Moonlight Sonata" and screamed, "WHOOOO! OMG, LUDWIG, I LOVE YOU! C-SHARP MINOR, YEAH!"
Unfortunately, Trent is still encouraging dorky clapping during "March of the Pigs."
So, yeah. We were rocked. We were rocked hard. Oh, and JR? Gabriel had to buy a new shirt afterwards because his was completely soaked through with l'orangerie sweat. I'm sure if you had asked, he could have wrung his shirt out into your open, waiting mouth and then slapped you in the face with it a couple of times. Oh, but you weren't there, were you? Pity.
I shall leave you all with what you all REALLY want--footage of Trent rocking the fucking tambourine like the naughty girl's Davy Jones. Enjoy!
Gabriel here. I went to see Daniel Ash spin at my underground event this weekend. He didn't show.
It turns out the Bauhaus guitarist was in a motorcycle accident. From what I heard he's okay - just a little road rash - but our thoughts and prayers go out to him.
Everyone, I know I promised you a review of the March 30th Vienna show this week, but something has come up, and I'm sorry but I can't meet that demand.
I have been given the opportunity to attend a secret underground art/performance/resistance gathering this weekend -- it will require that I leave Los Angeles for several days, where I will then meet with like-minded individuals at a secret location in the California desert, where we will then meet and congregate to embarace our common views and way of thinking, and perhaps even begin to fan the burning embers of the coming Revolution.
My only hope is that I have the pleasure of meeting Neil Czerno while there, and that I make it out alive. I've heard word of these expeditions before. It's not always pretty, and not everyone has the stamina to make it through. But goddamit, sometimes a cause is more important than an individual person, and their safety.
I kindly ask Maise or Iris to post a review of the show in my absence. I will not return until Monday, and I suspect any outside communication -- to the internet or otherwise -- will be difficult, if not downright impossible.
However, I will not leave you alone. I would like to take this opportunity to introduce the first of what will be an ongoing series of Protest Poems here at Wearing These Chains. Words of power, strength, and passion, crying out for change in this dark world we live in.
You have a voice. Wake up and use it. Art is resistance. Wake up and give a shit.
this sheen of truth
a protest poem by gabriel miller
feed the machine with little boys and guns
and watch them burn
we don't need your empathy
we don't want your sympathy
we don't need your fields of green
just fill up my oil machine
the red and the white
and the youtube
videoscreen of the dying dream
you always said
but you never got mad
(i remember when we all had a choice)
you just let it go by
you want to have it all
watch the pawns fall like a shakespeare
the shame of america
like the navajo, one with the land
we must make a stand
gush like tears
but you're only crying
I know you're all waiting with motherfucking baited breath for my amazing concert review of the [3_30_07] show in [Vienna_Austria] about [Nine_Inch_Nails] and the amazing [rock_show] they put on while we [were_there], and IT'S FUCKING COMING, so simmer down bitches.
For now, I have to post this.
Sum 41, Go Fuck Yourselves. Please.
Yeah, yeah; we're a bunch of procrastinating bastards (and by we, I mean me), but sometimes real life drama calls. And other times there are huge political arguements that you just don't want to disrupt because somebody's decided they want to "stand for something" all of a sudden (here's something to try -- stand for updating my 'about' page, douchebag). But the dust has settled, and some WTC European Vacation retrospection is being worked on once again -- as a token of good faith, this bit of teaser clip will let you know what's coming next.
Now if you've read any of my other concert reviews you know I'm always entertained by at least one roadie and the shows we saw back on March 29th and 30th in Vienna, Austria were no exception. As we all know, before every show there's a batallion of slovenly men that set up the equipment for the band before they play. This is nothing new, we've seen it all before. But this time around, they seemed to have a rather strange system in place for setting up the light and mic placement for one particular angry midget...
Gabriel Miller here. We heard about the meeting getting busted up last night. Thank you for quickly updating everyone with footage of the event; we can only assume by this that you made it out okay. Things may have gone south, but at least OSR will live to fight another day.
Some of the things you mentioned last night in the video... well let's just say some of them we knew, some of them we didn't. Most of us have seen the scrambled websites that have been appearing lately, which seem to have been sent to us from the future -- 2022, to be exact -- but honestly, I think many of us thought we were alone. A bunch of crackpot kids and dreamers pretending that this was all "a game", something innocent and harmless.
Well shit ain't like that. The fact that other people, people like you, are out there seeing the same things we're seeing -- well it makes this all the more real. The fact that these transmissions contain audio -- music -- that when received hadn't even been recorded yet; well that's some serious fucking business, now isn't it?
What was it you said last night? "Wake up and give a shit." Damn straight. What else did you say? "What the hell were you thinking? I just want to start by saying, you’re all dead! You were seen gathering around a piece of protest art. A shady guy in a van gave you resistance themed material, and you took it, in public, without knowledge of who they were. What if they were if FBI, NSA?"
Damn straight to this as well, Neil; but this goes for you too. A lot of us were congregating at that billboard for a long time, and the next time, they'll do the same unless you tell them different. And it's not like the OSR site is any secret now. With the Early Bird button entry system OSR used to hand out those cell phones for the meeting, it wouldn't have been too hard for any of the agencies you mentioned to infiltrate the gathering; shit man, maybe that's exactly what did happen. Or maybe you just wanted to scare everybody and the shutdown was staged; I dunno.
Either way, you're telling us we need to work harder and smarter, about keeping our shit secret; our voices alive long enough to make a difference -- and you're fucking A right. But so do you. We've seen what the future holds, how much we need to change -- but we also know you make a difference in that future. You're too important to lose.
Greetings folks. The second wave of calls have been received. Those attending the meeting will be congregating at an undisclosed location in just a few hours time.
Rumors on the street level are that a prominent U.S. musician may somehow be affiliated with the meeting tonight -- whether he is attending or simply has a hand in its organization is unclear, but one thing is clear: We Are Not Alone.
For those attending -- Best of luck. Watch your backs, be sure you're not followed, and report back as soon as possible.
It's never too late to decide to use your voice.
10:47pm update: Early reports are coming in. Approximately 50 individuals were participating in the first organized Resistance meeting in Los Angeles tonight. OSR founder Neil Czerno spoke briefly about everyone's lapdog blind following of the directions given to them. The message? If the Powers That Be were attempting to track down anyone at the meeting tonight, they all would be either dead or in prison right now.
Be vigilant. Stay aware. Trust no one.
Additionally, a set by Nine Inch Nails, who apparently are either tied with Czerno or support the cause, was begun, but after six songs was cut short when riot police stormed into the venue. Though most made it back out to their bus transports safely, some participants were detained -- we have no word as to their status at this time.
If anybody can confirm the safe escape of all participants, please contact us immediately.
We will update with further information on this site as it becomes available. Do not let the fact that tonight's meeting was stopped weaken your resolve. Yes, it does mean They are watching.
It also means They are afraid.
11:30pm update: OSR with video of tonight's meeting. Wake up and give a shit.
As you all know, I have been a little nonplussed with Year Zero since it leaked last week. Though there are certain tracks on it that I think have been amazing since I first heard them ("Me, I'm Not", "Meet Your Master") my general feeling was that the album may have been a little less nuanced that what we've come to expect. A little bit of a thick mess, without the thought-out subtlety -- not necessarily lyrically (our man has always been a broad canvas, relatable artist on that front), but musically -- something that has always characterized the sound of Nine Inch Nails.
Quite frankly, I was worried that it was a rather simple record.
Last night, I went down to my local Virgin records at midnight and picked up the CD. I gave it one listen last night, and then another listen through headphones this morning.
Suffice it to say, that with such a low-end and noise-driven album, the limitations of mp3 compression have never been more apparent. Not only is this not a simple record, it is as nuanced and layered as anything we've ever heard from Reznor. It is as by turns as brutal and pummeling as his work on The Downward Spiral ("My Violent Heart"), and and as beautiful and rapturous as anything on The Fragile ("Zero Sum", a track which quite frankly I considered an absolute bust from the leaked track). The last two listens have truly been like listening to a totally different record entirely.
Perhaps it's simply the fact that this record does require you listen to it differently than any other Nine Inch Nails record -- gone are many of the broad hooks that helped him define the genre, and instead, the devil is in the details, but what a glorious, fucking-you-in-the-back-of-your-car devil it is.
The much discussed perspective shifts that I never heard before -- indeed, on the previous leaked versions, there seemed to be only one, strange cacophonous voice, nothing more -- are there, and they are executed in the most subtle of ways; you're never hit over the head that a different person is telling the story when you switch from "The Beginning of the End" to "Survivalism" to "My Violent Heart" to "The Great Destroyer", you simply are there in that place.
Lyrically, I suspect more will be revealed about the storyline being described via the ARG, but lacking this knowledge is not diminshing my experience of the record, as it had before; it's simply hungering me for more.
And this is to not even speak directly of said presentation of the album -- the artwork, the game surrounding it, the entire world that is being created as a platform for this music; nay, for this experience.
If any of you out there has ever had similar qualms about YZ post-leak, I urge you to immediately set those aside and buy the CD if you haven't already. It is a different experience entirely. It is the work, I dare say, of an artist at the top of his game, and what we are all being allowed to participate in now is not just a man putting out a record, it is a truly immersive multimedia experience the like of which I have never seen.
On an earlier thread here I'd posted how I'd become a fan of this band because pretty hate machine came into my life at at time when it spoke to me on almost every level, and gave me an external voice to identify with. I'm no longer in that place in my life, and I wondered if there was any statement they could make that would resonate with me today the way the first-person confessional had with my former self.
What I'm realizing is that the Year Zero experience does that exact thing. So all joking, satire, and tomfoolery aside, to Trent Rezor I'd like to say Job Well Fucking Done, Mission Accomplished, and thank you for the ride. I can't wait to see what happens next.
Year Zero is now available for sale at a retailer near you.
Edit: Today's Los Angeles Times has a great YZ Review up on their site, focusing particularly on the meshing of game and music, and the resultant experience. Good readin', kids.
So through the recent Karrang! article we learn that Trent goes to Torture Museums. As it just so happens on our little outting to Europe...so did we. Oh Trent, we have SO much in common. I hear you dear readers rolling your eyes, mumbling "yeah right, you can make up whatever you want, say you've been anywhere but how are we supposed to know it's true?" Well to that I say "DUH...we got proof."
Art is Resistance people and we were getting our tag on in Prague. Gothemo style. And of course this wasn't our only act of spreading the resistance word. Look for more soon...
So, as you probably figured, Angelman and I went out tonight, in Los Angeles, to the first live interactive moment of the YEAR ZERO ARG. I received an email from "Neil", stating that individuals that wanted to take part in a meeting of Open Source Resistance (the organization that spawned the "Art Is Resistance" movement in the game world of the ARG) should meet at the new mural found in Los Angeles, and get materials from the marked van.
As you can see, Angelman was ready for action.
As was I. Now, this was the moment in the game I had been waiting for since it first became clear this was an ARG we were dealing with. The moment where the websites and we'd been reading finally bleed over into our real lives. This is the moment the geek in me was excited about, when we're actually taking part in something fictional, yet real-world... where we can actually "play" this game in our real lives -- not just hiding behind a computer screen and reading text that somebody has written and published, but TRULY interact.
Last night I stayed up late, making my AiR gear (they said wear something so we can recognize you, after all), and with my large AiR armband pinned on, I left work a half hour early to hit the rendezvous point.
I made it there at 7, as request by the email. The van had just arrived, and Angelman and I got in line. We got the below supercool ammo boxes full of tagging materials, as I'm sure you've all read about by now:
Althought the shit is VERY cool, I was a little let down -- I had anticipated directions to this "meeting", a puzzle or mission we'd have to go on (tagging something in Hollywood, who knows?) In any event, I had been excited for playing this game finally, really becoming a part of it --- not just promotional materials.
We were about to leave when Angelman pointed out the girl next to me, and the cell phone she had in her box:
This phone came in the boxes that had been marked with a red star, and included instructions about the "meeting" we were all emailed about; the cell phone is the person's "membership card" to the resistance, and they're going to get a call about the first meeting, which will take place this Wednesday the 18th, and if they're over 18 they and a friend can come.
Pretty cool, right? Some folks are saying secret show; I hope it's something even more clever and in-game than that. But how did this person get the phone?
Turns out that long before seven o'clock, somebody, when everybody was hanging about, distributed buttons. Some people got yellow buttons, some white. If you got a yellow button, you got a cell phone box. And aparently, you needed to be "showing something so they could recognize you" for you to get the yellow button.
Not to be rude here guys, but WHAT THE FUCK? The email specifically said, "If you're interested, show up at the Melrose location at or a little after 7pm..." Why then, would they decide to hand out these buttons before the players were supposed to arrive? Particularly given the "Don't attract attention" warning -- quite honestly, NOBODY should have been there prior to 7, much less hanging out in a sea of black-clad Hot Topic angst. Was the idea here not to reward those who were paying attention and playing the game, and to instead give entry to the next stage of the game to those who just showed up because it was a NIN event that they found out about that afternoon from a friend (and believe me, a good number of people there were exactly that).
That's not even speaking to the fact that many of those that got yellow buttons weren't sporting gear -- unless you consider a hastily stuck sticker (that they got from somebody there) on a white t-shirt to be "sporting gear".
I'm sure the intent behind it all was to have people arrive at the designated time, those that were playing along would be wearing AIR insignias, and they would receive the yellow buttons and get to play the next portion of the L.A. live game. But when the move was made to hand out the buttons early, this was thrown in the shitter, the game ceased to become about paying attention or playing smart, and became about blind luck, and the people that had been PLAYING ALONG THE ENTIRE TIME got shafted, big time.
Now, I know this sound like sour grapes. I'm sure Trent would have a comment about whiny Internet bitchery, and to a degree, he'd be right. I mean, I've had more than my fair share of great breaks in being a fan of Nine Inch Nails -- even scoring his microphone back in San Diego. I've been a fan for 15 some years now, and I've got some great experiences that go with that.
But this wasn't supposed to be just about the band. This was supposed to be about this new art form of the ARG. And though the cell phone business is inspired, the way it was handled was, quite simply, a disappointment. Would it have been THAT difficult for the people handling the handouts to simply follow the rules they themselves had set up? Or to just check for AiR logos on people that came up? So that people that had played properly could get the admission pass to the next layer of the game?
My biggest fear going into today was high expectations, because I'm a game geek from way back -- I'm the kid that obsessed over Infocom games in my youth, and thus far, the Year Zero ARG has been the closest thing to that. I think what Trent, Rob, and the guys at 42 Ent. have put together has been compelling in a way I never would have anticipated. I worried I would emotionally invest in the game, get in the character mindset, create a costume so I could be a member of the resistance, and then have the whole thing simply be a fat guy from Interscope handing out stickers.
It wasn't that bad by any means, and I'm sure it looked great on paper, but it sadly wasn't in practice. With MTV there, and people giving interviews about "this brilliant viral marketing campaign, blahblahblah...", well, it frankly ruined any posssible suspension of disbelief. Not that I expected much, but maybe, just for a second, I thought that everybody would be in it for the game, and not to just be the obsessive NIN fans we all can be.
I suppose I've learned my lesson, and in the future, I'll know the routine -- forget the rules given to you, ignore the world of the game; just act like you're trying to get on the rail through the Spiral Entrance and get there as early as possible, and you'll get all the cool rewards.
Because paying attention and giving a shit will only get you excluded. That, and a pretty sweet box with a stencil in it.
Problem is, I don't need a stencil, because I already made one myself. Because I just wanted a chance to play the game.
Edit: It has come to my attention that Steve Peters, Game Designer extraordinaire at 42 Entertainment, was the one that actually handed out the buttons to people yesterday, pretty much right after 6pm. Steve, this is my first 42 game, and up until now it has been amazing, but whatever reason made you decide to do the whole button giveaway thing at the time you did was simply wrong. Maybe you're not familiar with NIN fans, maybe you just wanted to start your weekend; maybe you and Trent were going to catch Grindhouse later that night; I don't know. But the net result is you squandered the coolest part of the game thus far on a bunch of people that didn't know what the fuck was going on, and let down a good number of people who were there, both as fans of the band and fans of this experience, that wanted to participate in this portion of it, and because you broke the trust between Storyteller and Audience, they -- we -- won't get that chance.
Edit 4.15.07: So yesterday the phones started ringing, and people who answered were vigorously questioned -- in character -- as to where they got the phones, their knowledge of OSR, etc. While I still feel the way the dispersal of the phones was handled was a bit of a disappointment, this next level of play is exactly what I was hoping was in store -- so kudos to everyone at 42 and the NIN camp, for continuing to deliver a great game experience. I hope we all get more oppportunities for this type of interaction as the game progresses.
Edit 4.16.07: MTV thought we kicked so much ass, they put us on the front page of their photo gallery. Oh, and my armband got a close-up too. Guess who's not Resistance enough to get into the secret meeting now, bitches???