Concert #19:The National, Part 2

Gosh darnit, I hate writing and I love list-making!

The Ten Best Parts About the National Concert, Wednesday June 2 at The Boston House of Blues:

1.  The National bros jumped onstage with a kraut-rock track playing as intro music.  I think it was Neu!  Q: How many people in the audience recognized that tune?  A: Ten people.

2.  Berninger starts out the night with Start a War and Mistaken for Strangers, two bangers from The Boxer.  Start a War makes me squeal like I’m at a middle school dance and Country Grammar just came on.

3.  I admit, I went to this show to hear The National’s big hits, making me a certain type of asshole.  I’m not as bad as the guy who yells out for that one song the first twenty minutes of the concert until he is pacified by the band playing the request or he is too drunk to keep yelling.  Warning: Mountain Goats concerts this happens far too much and therefore makes me hesitate to go and allow Mr. Darnielle to rape and pillage my brain.  Note: Don’t be that guy.  Let fate run its course, dudebro.

4.  But back to my point: Bloodbuzz Ohio and Abel were brilliant portions of the night because I didn’t recognize the other songs.  But that’s OK, those songs were all lovely, too.  I also enjoyed Secret Meeting, the first track from Alligator, but I didn’t know what that was until after the show.  Dammit that song rocks.

5.  Playing Fake Empire to close the main set was spectacular.  Someone arranged the spotlight onto the piano player so the entire back-drop on stage was his shadow.  For those who don’t know, that song is driven by the piano, and the extra lighting technique was an elegant detail that drew out more blood from my veins.  Shit was real.

6.  Sorrow, Mr. November during the encore, Berninger probably crawled on the side structures next to the stage during the latter and did some dry-humps.  Mr. November always draws out the inner-demons from the leader of The National.

7.  Ended the night with Terrible Love.  First track from High Violet, re-arranged live to crush it, and causes Berninger to have a minor seizure and run through the crowd with his mic, jump on the side bars, and then spaz the fuck out.  I think he punched the bartender in the throat.  I give the guy credit: did not see that coming and ends the night on a grand note.  Dude’s got a weird sense of charisma and charm and energy.

8.  Overall, the band seemed tighter, more cohesive, well adjusted to the bigger stage.  They’ve added an extra, hard-to-detect layer in between the recording of the music to their touring performances.  Plus I noticed how well they use the building-up-slowly-to-awesome-music-explosion technique to perfection.

9.  End notes: The Antlers opened, missed half their set, were a snooze except the last song…the background of the stage had a drop that was typically covered by a solid, pretty color, but at one point had fire-flies, and the afore-mentioned piano player…first visit to the Boston House of Blues, as mediocre as the Avalon had been…and the staff is still grumpy…

10.  Overall, the best of three times I’ve seen The National.  These dudes are destined for special days ahead.  Moderately easy predictions: this year The National will peak in popularity, attract the NPR crowd, play on all those talk shows that are late at night, be on everyone’s mediocre year-end lists, and go back to the studio and write another slow-burning torture of a record.  Good luck boys, keep up the good work!  Also, big-ups to Bradley’s Alamanac for hooking a brotha up!

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