Six reasons why Nine Inch Nails should get a Vegas residency

Photo: Erik Kabik / Courtesy
Annie Zaleski

Nine Inch Nails’ three shows at the Joint sold out well in advance. That’s no surprise—after all, the L.A.-via-Cleveland electro-industrial rock pioneers remain one of the most reliable, vibrant live acts around.

However, the quick sellout meant that many fans were shut out of tickets. To solve this frustrating, supply-and-demand problem, we’d like to pose an interesting potential solution: NIN should sign on for an extended Las Vegas residency. The idea might seem like sacrilege, but here are six reasons why it actually makes perfect sense.

1. The band is a major draw in Las Vegas.

Nine Inch Nails makes it a point to play here on a regular basis, perhaps because its headlining shows routinely sell out. This fan loyalty even extends to co-bills: When NIN opened for Jane’s Addiction at the Pearl in 2009, the Weekly observed that “a noticeable portion of the sold-out crowd didn’t bother to return” for the headliners.

2. NIN fans are willing to travel.

The band doesn’t just have a strong local fanbase: NIN aficionados are willing to travel to see the band, especially for special performances, making a residency a safe bet in terms of attendance.

3. The band’s catalog lends itself to intriguing performance possibilities.

With the forthcoming release of Bad Witch, the final part of a planned trilogy, Nine Inch Nails will have nine albums under its collective belt. Combine these with the band’s numerous EPs, covers and b-sides, and it adds up to a massive catalog. In context of a residency, this poses intriguing performance possibilities—whether it’s a fluid setlist from night to night, a rotating full-album set spotlighting LPs from different eras or a mid-concert acoustic break.

4. A residency gives them the chance to put on an (even more) amazing production.

The band’s arena shows always include dazzling displays of cutting-edge lights, video and production. Giving NIN an entire permanent venue to themselves opens up enormous creative possibilities with respect to design. A stage that doesn’t need to be torn down and rebuilt every night also creates the potential for experiments with groundbreaking technology and effects.

5. A NIN residency aligns with the band’s subversive history.

Residencies are no longer the domain of older classic artists—after all, Blink-182, Nickelback and Incubus have all done extended stays in Vegas. But Nine Inch Nails would be the first Generation X rock band (and, arguably, the most nihilistic and cynical act) ever to sign on for a residency, which makes the prospect rather compelling. Plus, Trent Reznor and company relish going against the grain—so a Vegas residency aligns perfectly with their history of subversion.

6. NIN are still one of the best live bands going.

Although they no longer resemble total anarchy, NIN concerts have never lost their urgency and ferocity. Few bands remain captivating live performers three decades into their career. That NIN easily dominates both small and large venues is even more impressive.

NINE INCH NAILS With Queen Kwong. June 13, 15 & 16, 8 p.m.; $80-$350; The Joint, 702-693-5000.

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