Tag Archives: The National

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!

Concert # 19: The National in Boston, Part 1

Concert #19: The National @ Boston House of Blues 6/2

Nearly a month ago, I attended the most significant musical experience so far in my 2010.  I had quite a hard time explaining why the occasion meant so much to me.  A month later, I’ve finally managed to convey the intensely profound moment, in words, to the best of my ability.  This calls for a two-parter, ladies and gents.

The following is a bit more serious and philosophical than what you usually will find on Sex Sux (Amen).  I’m looking at the big picture here, so to speak.  Forgive me.  I hope you have the patience to check the rather long post.  And make fun of it.

Part One:

The internet-driven underground rock movement of the past ten years has produced memorable one-hit records but very little in the way of long-standing careers for these charming over-night-success stories.  I could list the amount of buzzed out bands that were flame-thrown into the black hole of the never-listened-to-again bin, but the new Interpol video summarizes that in a nice five-minute span.  How the mighty have fallen.

Dear Interpol,

You guys are charging 35 fucking dollars to play music you wrote probably eight or nine years ago.  Yeah, that first record was great, but maybe not, since you haven’t had an original thought since.  Reminds me of the commercial I saw for the current Moody Blues/Chicago tour.

Please retire or at least don’t charge 35 dollars for rehashing the past.  Not a single person is going to your shows to hear your new music.



More reason for my frustration: the newest Broken Social Scene, New Pornographers, and Hold Steady records were so tepid I had to reconsider their prior output.  Of those three bands, I only listen to Separation Sunday regularly, anyways.

Still, I’m disturbed by the trend.  Have I out-grown these bands that meant so much to me?  Did I value them too much?  Or have they simply burnt out, ran out of interesting things to say, lost their edge?  What does this all mean for the bands I listen to currently?  Is this a pointless existence, putting time into following the career arcs of bands, going out to buy their records, and attending their concerts?

Which brings me to The National.  I assumed their newest record would hurt my soul a little more.  But, after checking out the overwhelmingly positive Cokemachineglow review, I decided to give the first single, Bloodbuzz Ohio, a shot.

A shot it was.  I forgot the amount of sting Matthew Berninger possesses in his writing, the deeply complicated nuance he includes in each of his painstaking lines, the way he can explain an emotion or situation in the smallest hint of a gesture.

Take the first line of Bloodbuzz Ohio and let it swim in your mind for a little while:

Stand up straight at the foot of your love/I lift my shirt up.

I then checked out the record High Violet.  While not as great as The Boxer and Alligator at first glance, it may grow into another winner.  Typically, a good sign for a record: one I can’t place my finger on after the first ten listens.

Anyways, long story short, I found out I rediscovered my love for The National and was pretty pissed off that I didn’t have enough sense to pick up tickets to one of the two sold-out shows at the House of Blues in Boston.

Then fate interceded: Bradleys Almanac hooked me up with a free pair of tickets, plus a signed Bloodbuzz Ohio 7’’…

Watch out for part two, thee concert review, coming soon to a shitty blog post near you!