Why You Should Listen to How to Destroy Angels

On April 23, 2013, How to Destroy Angels performed at the Vic Theatre in Chicago, Illinois, USA. When the tickets went on sale months back, the show sold out almost immediately. It might have been the first of the shows on the tour to sell out, but that is unknown. Since it was sold out, one can assume that the place would be packed with “real” fans of the group.

Let us first talk about the opening act, EchoDroides. This guy was straight up awful. He was a last-minute choice as the real opening act got stranded. It is unknown who picked him out but one might wonder if it was not the band. It was assumed that everyone was disappointed due to the lack of applause and enthusiasm. He played a nonstop loop of different beats for about 35 minutes and everyone seemed bored. It is unclear if he was even actually creating the music. It really just seemed like he had an MP3 playing on his computer and he was pretending to make the music.

But after waiting and waiting, we all finally got to see How to Destroy Angels come on. From left to right, it was Alessandro Cortini, Atticus Ross, Mariqueen Maandig-Reznor, Trent Reznor and Rob Sheridan. It was understood by the reaction that we were all extremely ecstatic. The lights, the sounds, the atmosphere—it was overwhelming, but in a very, very good way.

First of all, they had these strands hanging in front of them that caught the light being projected from the back of the theatre. They also had a screen behind them to catch the remainder of the light. They had different shapes, colors and textures. For example, in one song, they had a white and black screen of light that twisedt in turned to make a three-dimensional effect. It was magnificent.

The strands stayed up for a few songs and then they moved away to reveal the five musicians. They must have coordinated their outfits because all the men were in white shirts and jeans and Mariqueen was wearing a white floor-length dress with custom arm cuffs that poured to the floor.

First, we have Alessandro Cortini. He's not an official member of the band; Alessandro is just a touring member. He performed bass, keyboards and synthesizers. This dude has got major skills! He toured with Nine Inch Nails 2007 to 2009 and is coming back for the 2013-2014 tour. He has worked on multiple of his own projects and has worked with other bands. He is kind of a quiet guy on stage, but I enjoy that. Really consider checking out his music.

And then along comes Atticus Ross. Hold on to your shorts because this guy is talented! He does synthesizers and backing vocals. He won the Oscar along with Trent Reznor for The Social Network soundtrack. He has also worked on albums from groups such as Coheed and Cambria and From First to Last. He seems like a really great man. Both he and Trent are really down to earth people that try not to let the recognition go to their heads. Ross has also done the soundtrack for movies like The Book of Eli and Broken City. Check his work out!

Ah, Mariqueen. She is lead vocals. We thought her voice was beautiful on the recording but live, it’s even more amazing. Her long black hair flowed and moved with music. She had great stage presence! The favorite songs for her were “Ice Age” and “And the Sky Began to Scream.” Each song really showed off her vocal skills; one in a lower register and the other in a higher one. Some believe she is the heart of the group. Also, her dress was fabulous. She just looked and sounded amazing.

Next is the big man himself, Trent Reznor. He plays guitar, does co-vocals and performs synthesizers. Most know him from Nine Inch Nails and/or winning the Academy Award for The Social Network soundtrack. He also looked great and sounded fantastic. He has not performed live since the summer of 2009, so it has been a while. And he has such an existence on stage that one can’t even really explain. It just makes you smile and move. You just have to love him.

Then we come to Rob Sheridan. He performs synthesizers. He is the art director for Nine Inch Nails and How to Destroy Angels. He is a fantastic photographer. Rob is also quite an attractive man, but sadly, you could not see his face much. Mariqueen herself said that he is like a “sexy Frodo Baggins”. This tour was his first opportunity to be on stage with anyone, since he is normally behind-the-scenes. From what could be understood by the audience, he was having a great time. He is just phenomenal with everything he does.

Now, to the actual music. By the reaction of the audience, the favorite songs were, were “Ice Age” and “And the Sky Began to Scream” but another great song was “We Fade Away.” Seeing Trent and Mariqueen, the married couple, singing together, side by side, was just incredible. It was a little too much to handle.

Overall, it was a fantastic concert. It’s a group of five incredible, talented, fantastic people. They all have the perfect stage presence and don’t try to upstage each other. They are all extremely professional and the music just blew us away. The audience was great as well. It was so invigorating to be in a theatre with so many other fans of How to Destroy Angels.

If you are interested in seeing a live performance by How to Destroy Angels, you can check them out at the Coachella Music Festival on YouTube. Also, we were informed that this concert was recorded professionally by This One Is On Us, a group of people that records concerts for Nine Inch Nails and releases them for free, simply asking for a donation.

Set list:

  1. The wake-up
  2. Keep it together
  3. Parasite
  4. And the sky began to scream
  5. Ice age
  6. The Believers
  7. How long?
  8. Welcome Oblivion
  9. BBB
  10. The Space In Between (Sonoio Remix)
  11. Fur-Lined
  12. The loop closes
  13. A Drowning
  14. On the wing
  15. Strings and attractors
  16. We fade away

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