Year Zero

Last night Peaches, Lily, and I trundled into the City to attend a listening party for Year Zero, the new Nine Inch Nails album which is coming out in April. Before any of my readers go thinking that I’m slick with the inside music connections: it was a free and highly publicized event at Slim’s.

So there we were, at Slim’s, waiting to get in. First they handed out menacing fliers about how we should not try to record anything, music pirating is illegal, etc etc…the Slim’s employees were sort of joking while they were handing them out, so I hope that they thought they were silly too.

Honestly, kids. Why record it at a crowded venue when I can get about half the songs off NIN’s MySpace account? Pfft. Anyway.

So we stood around in line, and I absently cruised the people around us, in that way that I have. There was a wide assortment of folks…some totally gothed out kiddies, of course, but a lot of older people as well. Snappy dressers, some of them, even. At one point while we were waiting in line, a gal pulled up on a Vespa wearing a very short skirt and very high heels. Props.

The employees strolled by with a box to collect people’s electronics, and Peaches and Lily surrendered their cell phones. I guess they were really, really serious about not wanting people to record stuff, because they searched us again at the door and I discovered to my chagrin that I had my cellphone on me, even though I thought I left it at home. So I got to toss mine in the box, too (don’t worry, we got tickets for them.)

For people who are into that sort of thing, I guess Slim’s is nice inside. It’s a big airy venue, they didn’t overfill it with people, and the bar staff were surly. We snagged a table upstairs kind of above the crowd, while they played older NIN stuff until eight, when the new album was supposed to be put on. I noted that the sound quality wasn’t terribly great, and I hoped that it would magically improve so that we could actually hear the new album.

Alas, it didn’t. Although we enjoyed ourselves people watching and loafing…we couldn’t hear most of the album. I’d say that about half the noise was lost in the PA, and another quarter was swallowed up by the crowd, leaving us with fits and starts of music, sensing the potential for excellence but never quite grasping it. I would have been better off at home on their website, sadly. Also…they had a giant projection screen, which earlier had been showing videos. When they put Year Zero on, the screen turned blank…except for the DVD player’s screensaver. Pretty tacky.

After struggling to hear a good chunk of the album, we left, figuring that if we couldn’t hear anything, we might as well get out before the crowd. We stopped to reclaim our goods at the door, where there was a mound of electronics. I’m pretty anal, so I would have organized them by type, to make finding them easier.

At any rate, there was a time when my cellphone was new and cool, and it would have been very easy to identify. Not so much this time. I could tell that the girl was struggling to find my ticket number (they taped the tickets to our phones).

“It’s a silver Razr,” I said, trying to be helpful…until I looked down and saw around 40 silver Razrs. Peaches got her Ghetro phone back, and Lily reclaimed her makeup sharpies, which had been confiscated. I guess they did not want her to start tagging the bathrooms or some such nonsense.

And so we ambled off into the night, some of us possibly staggering more than others, to wend our way back to the Island and Peaches’ car so that she could escape to the East Bay.

I’d say it was a fun outing, although we certainly didn’t accomplish anything terribly exciting. Luckily, none of us were too riled at not really being able to hear, and we just relaxed and had a good time instead. What we did hear had great promise, and I am looking forward to hearing the whole album.

[Year Zero]
[Slim’s SF]