With Dave Grohl courting Grammys, Billy Corgan squashing his own legacy, and Chris Cornell aping Justin Timberlake, Trent Reznor is looking like a mighty respectable alternative-nation ambassador nowadays. Free from the major-label slaughterhouse, the doomy hothead is riding an Internet-fueled creative crest that includes meandering instrumental wank sessions (Ghosts I-IV) and brutal signs of fresh rage (The Slip). Though the Nine Inch Nails sound hasn’t progressed much since H.W. swore in back in 1989, Reznor’s wonky attitude toward technology, distribution schemes, and Chinese Olympics–style opening-ceremony LED blind-sides lend his enterprise a winning illusion of evolution. Reznor gets older, but his angst stays the same age.

Wed., Aug. 27, 7:30 p.m., 2008

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