Opening a six-week U.S. tour at the sold-out Palladium on Friday, the commercially flourishing Chicago-based industrial band Filter presented scattered moments of inspiration amid 90 continuous minutes of mostly soulless bashing.
Formed by leader Richard Patrick following his departure in 1994 from the Nine Inch Nails touring band, Filter generally stays true to NIN’s industrial-pop framework, although Patrick’s present band rocks in concert much harder than his old band does.
Still, an all too evident lack of songwriting diversity (and an accompanying sameness of sound), coupled with screaming singer Patrick’s off-putting and self-satisfied rock-star posturing, had a dulling effect on the packed house, which responded appropriately with half-hearted mosh circles and stage-bound projectiles, coming to full-life only at show’s end for the band’s big hits.
Show opened promisingly enough with a handful of group’s best tunes, including the hard-hitting recent single “Welcome to the Fold,” 1995’s “Dose” and the heavy, New Wave-like stomp of “The Best Things,” from Filter’s current album “Title of Record” (Reprise). Patrick, though, could be seen reading the words to the latter song from notes taped onto the stage — a rather uncool move.
The show rapidly deteriorated from there as such underwhelming fare as the floundering “Consider This” and the half-spooky “Cancer” all tended to blend together, one song often barely distinguishable from the last. Patrick tried to motivate the lethargic house by throwing endless bottles of water into the audience, then stage-diving (twice) during standout track “I Will Lead You,” arguably the best of the new material.
Following pedestrian takes on “Jurassitol” and “(Can’t You) Trip Like I Do,” from the “Spawn” and “The Crow: City of Angels” soundtracks, respectively, Filter closed the show with its two most successful songs. The undeniable hook of 1995 hit “Hey Man Nice Shot,” inspired by the televised late-1980s suicide of an indicted politician, ended the regular set on a much needed strong note, while the cynical mid-tempo “Take a Picture” was an anticlimactic encore.