"Sorry if we fucked up your Monday," Trent Reznor said on stage at Webster Hall Monday night (7/31). Nine Inch Nails were fresh off co-headlining NYC festival Panorama on Sunday night (with A Tribe Called Quest), and Monday morning they announced they'd be playing the far more intimate (and soon to be handed over to new owners) Webster Hall (which they also played on their 2009 goodbye tour that also included a show at the even smaller Bowery Ballroom, and in 1994, and in 1990 opening for Peter Murphy when it was called The Ritz). Tickets went on sale to fan club members just minutes after the announcement, and not surprisingly the show quickly sold out. It was packed with diehards, who were raising fists and devil horns and screaming nearly every word (and very sweaty) from start to finish.

Trent Reznor and co. were in fine form, and really looked and sounded right at home on the small club stage. Though NIN clearly have the stage presence, fanbase, and timeless material to headline festivals with ease, they really seemed like they were built to rock small rooms at the Webster Hall show. They were tight as all hell, kept the stage banter to a minimum, and really meant business. Setlist-wise, they had a few surprises in store that the Panorama and FYF crowds didn't get, like "Somewhat Damaged" and "Sanctified." (They didn't cover Bowie like they had been doing though.) The new songs (like the high-spirited "Less Than" off the recent Add Violence EP) fit in perfectly with the classics. Not a minute of their hour-and-a-half encore-less set lagged.

At this point, Nine Inch Nails really have nothing to prove -- as the fervent fan reactions to songs from all over their nearly-30-year career reinforced -- but they still played like they did. They didn't do anything celebratory, there was nothing explicitly nostalgic, no over-the-top antics that arena-level bands tend to adapt -- just a rock-solid band playing their hearts out.

More pictures of the Webster Hall show are in the gallery above. Setlist (which had "Hurt" written on it for the last song, though they never played it) and some videos below.

Next up for Nine Inch Nails this year is Riot Fest and Aftershock. The third and final installment of their ongoing EP trilogy is due out by the end of 2017.

Somewhat Damaged
March of the Pigs
The Frail / The Wretched
Less Than
Gave Up
She's Gone Away
The Lovers
The Great Destroyer
Burning Bright (Field on Fire)
Head Like a Hole


photos by Amanda Hatfield

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