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Concert Reviews:
Sunlight Doesn't Melt Goth Groups at DTE Show

Of the Oakland Press

Posted: Monday, June 26, 2006

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INDEPENDENCE TOWNSHIP -- A myth rebuffed; the goth crowd can go out in broad daylight without melting or being otherwise adversely affected.

This was proven Sunday at the DTE Energy Music Theatre, where dark rock faves nine inch nails and Bauhaus, along with Peaches, rocked more than 10,000 Dracula wannabes -- some in vampiric regalia but most of whom traded in the cowls for more appropriate summer fashion. Even Trent Reznor, nine inch nails' notoriously mercurial resident genius, looked at times like he was having fun.

The evening sunshine did, however, lead to some pretty odd sights -- not the least of which was black-coated Bauhaus frontman Peter Murphy, taking the stage looking like something out of Bram Stoker's imagination. The British goth rock pioneers didn't let the bright skies get them down, though; if anything, the setting seemed to inspire the group to crank a little harder and more physically during its hour-long set, delivering forceful renditions of "Adrenalin," "Stigmata Martyr" and "Bela Lugosi's Dead" along with a show-stopping performance of "Severance."

nine inch nails, making its first DTE/Pine Knob appearance since 1994, was equally adroit at handling the somewhat challenging circumstances -- by ignoring them. With one of the fiercest and most visually engrossing rock shows on the road at the moment, Reznor and company came on for their hour-and-40-minute concert surrounded by a wall of smoke and behind a transparent levelour curtain festooned with LED lights as the quintet pounded through "Somewhat Damaged," and throughout the night the stage was bathed in washes of red and blue, piercing high-tech lights and manically flashing strobes as the group delivered 21 of Reznor's anthems of angst and despair.

Some concessions were made to the daylight -- mostly via the upbeat early song selection ("Terrible Lie," "March of the Pigs," "Burn") -- and Reznor seemed relieved at the beginning of "Even Deeper," the evening's 12th song, when he noted that "as the sun finally sets, now we can get moody." But while ambient pieces such as "Something I Can Never Have," "Help Me I Am in Hell"/"Non-Entity" and the flick-your-Bic moment "Hurt" fit the bill, nine inch nails spent most of the show rocking with a fury, from the hardcore speed of "Gave Up" and "Wish" to the technometalfunk of "Down in It" and "Only" to the show-closing hits "The Hand That Feeds" and "Head Like a Hole," almost everything accented by stinging solos from former Marilyn Manson member Jeordie White (aka Twiggy Ramirez).

There was plenty of anger and venting, of course, but the hard-rocking energy made it feel more like catharsis than blind rage. When Reznor sang "Doesn't it make you feel better?" in "March of the Pigs," the real answer was that it made everyone at DTE feel pretty good -- even with the sun in their eyes.

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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