Among one of the most anticipated live returns of the year, Nine Inch Nails has been holding court in select markets, further cementing their legacy as one of the best to ever do it. Ahead of the band's headlining set at the Los Angeles edition of Primavera Sound and their closing set at Riot Fest, the band took to the intimate confines of Santa Barbara Bowl along the scenic California coast to helm a dramatic, dazzling presentation of their decades of dominance that on paper seemed like a warm-up but was nothing short of searing.
True to form, the set included nearly zero stage banter despite the intimacy of the venue. Breaking only to introduce his team of creative cohorts, Trent Reznor set a relentless pace, pummeling the capacity crowd with more than twenty essentials from the NIN catalog that spanned from timeless works like The Fragile to the band's more recent entries like 2017's Add Violence EP.
The evening juxtaposed the enchantment of such a intimate destination, positioned under a canopy of stars, with a live presentation of Nine Inch Nails' continued intensity and imposition. Decades in, NIN is as dominant as ever and Santa Barbara offer a preview of what Primavera Sound and Riot Fest have coming.