“I’m not really a big talker” mumbled The National‘s lead singer, Matt Berninger about halfway through their set. For some bands, this fact would make for a very dull evening. Not with The National, who let their music do the talking rather than giving us long monologues about their journey to the top, life on the road and such like.
First, we’ll rewind 90 minutes to when Annuals first opened up. I’d listened to their myspazz and, well, I wasn’t that impressed. However live they’re something else. The first song had the hairs on the back of my neck standing up, such was their enthusiasm and volume. Swapping and changing instruments like nobody’s business, they showed they were more than adept at creating a quality live show.
Unfortunately I have no idea about names of songs, but their set just blew me away. Haunting, loud, and interesting, they really are an intense live experience that can only grow with time. Check them out, and even if you don’t like their myspazz give them a go live at the festivals this summer.
The main event soon came around, with The National quietly shuffling on stage and bursting into “Start A War” from their new album, before working their way through most of “Boxer” and some of the old favourites from “Alligator“.
The closing three songs were some of the best of the show, with “Daughters of the Soho Riots” seeing the entire audience silent for its haunting beauty, before Matt launched into the highlight of the night, “Mr. November”. 2,000 people all screaming “I won’t fuck us over, I’m Mr. November” simultaneously was quite something to hear, particularly after the quietness of the previous song. Over too quickly, they launched into current single “Fake Empire”, which was just as good live as it was on record.
After coming back for the encore, they launched into one of my favourites “About Today”, a perfect rain-down-the-window moment with the whole audience’s attention held, even the drunks behind me. Due to demand they then came back for one final song after their encore, “Gospel” from their new album, though with a slightly dodgy grand piano, which just enhanced the feeling of a magical evening even more.
The National are playing a lot of the UK festivals over the summer, so be sure to check them out if you get the chance. Photos etc after the jump.
Start A War
Mistaken for Strangers
Baby, We’ll Be Fine
All The Wine
Murder Me Rachael
Racing Like A Pro
Daughters of The Soho Riots