Live Review by: Alison Duggins
Two things will be talked about today for sure, Matt Berninger’s abuse of the set clock and his amazing table ballet across the pool circle at the Hollywood Bowl. However there is much more to talk about including a charming opener by Sharon Van Etten, smooth middle set by Neko Case and some special guests performing with the night’s headliner The National.
The setlist included a fair mix of old and new with songs from Boxer and High Violet. The third song “Bloodbuzz Ohio” kicked into gear the mood and brood of the evening with an assaulting guitar crescendo and followed with a couple Boxer favorites “Slow Show” and “Squalor Victoria” ending with Matt’s signature screaming, which we love. Then the band tamed the mood with the help of St. Vincent on “Afraid of Everyone, “ her silky understated harmony perfectly suited for Matt’s rich baritone. Bressner and Berninger went on to introduce an older song “Available” that Matt described as a mean, bitter, petty song and Bressner not too sure why they wanted to play it but did. The detachment in Matt’s lyrics serves to balance out the intense emotion and intimacy. “Cardinal Song” continues with more heartfelt personal prose we’ve come to expect from The National; “Jesus Christ you have confused me / Cornered, wasted, blessed and used me / Forgive me girls, I am confused / Stiff and pissed and lost and loose.” The National also resurrected an older song “Thirsty” written after the 9/11 attacks with yet more perfect and poignant lyrics; “but today I find myself / Curling up behind the house” relating the widespread fear and anxiety we felt as a nation following the attacks.
The Caudrel Quartet was also on hand to fill out and add texture to some songs. Their horn section punctuated “Slow Show” and the triumphant outro for The National’s break out song “Fake Empire.” After this goose bump inducing number, the band brought out opening act Sharon Van Etten to sing “Think You Can Wait.” The soundtrack piece was written for the movie Win Win which was endearingly plugged along with St. Vincent’s new album Strange Mercy which was released today.
Throughout the set list, the scrunch and staccato guitar work from the Bressners, Devendorf’s distinctive percussion and as always Matt’s brooding and lovely dark chocolate vocals made this a stellar show. As mentioned, frontman Breninger was visibly upset as the time ran out and showed his distaste by bandying about the set clock, turning it toward the audience perhaps as an apologetic gesture before finally tossing it. The only thing we truly missed here was the tear
jerker “Vanderlylle Crybaby Geeks, ” which had to be tossed as well due to time.
NATIONAL TOUR DATES:
Tour / Upcoming 2011
06: SINGAPORE / ESPLANADE THEATRE // TICKETS
09: TOKYO, JAPAN / DUO // TICKETS
12: MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA / HARVEST FESTIVAL – WERRIBEE PARK // TICKETS / OZTIX
13: SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA / HARVEST FESTIVAL – PARRAMATTA PARK // TICKETS / OZTIX
15: ADELAIDE, AUSTRALIA / THEBARTON THEATRE // w/ THE WALKMEN // TICKETS ON-SALE 14 SEPTEMBER
17: PERTH, AUSTRALIA / METRO CITY // w/ THE WALKMEN // TICKETS ON-SALE 14 SEPTEMBER
19: BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA / HARVEST FESTIVAL – BOTANICAL GARDENS // TICKETS / OZTIX
29: VANCOUVER, BC CANADA / ORPHEUM THEATRE // w/ LOCAL NATIVES + WYE OAK // ON-SALE: 9/16 @ 10AM
30: SEATTLE, WA / NEPTUNE THEATRE // w/ LOCAL NATIVES + WYE OAK // PRE-SALE: 9/15 @ 10AM – 9/16 @ 10PM Password: STG / ON-SALE: 9/17 @ 10AM
01: SEATTLE, WA / NEPTUNE THEATRE // w/ LOCAL NATIVES + WYE OAK // PRE-SALE: 9/15 @ 10AM – 9/16 @ 10PM Password: STG / ON-SALE: 9/17 @ 10AM
03: SAN FRANCISCO, CA / BILL GRAHAM CIVIC AUDITORIUM // w/ LOCAL NATIVES + WYE OAK // PRE-SALE: 9/15 @ 10AM Password: VIOLET / ON-SALE: 9/18 @ 10AM
04: AUSTIN, TX / AUSTIN MUSIC HALL // w/ LOCAL NATIVES // C3 Concerts PRE-SALE: 9/22 @ 10AM Password: NATIONALLOCAL / KROX PRE-SALE: 9/22 @ 10AM-10PM Password: 101x / KGSR PRE-SALE: 9/22 @ 10AM-10PM Password: 933KGSR / ON-SALE: 9/23 @ 10AM
06: CHICAGO, IL / ARAGON BALLROOM // w/ LOCAL NATIVES + WYE OAK // PRE-SALE: 9/16 @ 10AM Password: VIOLET / ON-SALE: 9/17 @ 10AM
08: TORONTO, ON CANADA / AIR CANADA CENTRE // w/ NEKO CASE + WYE OAK
ACC PRE-SALE: 9/12 @ 130PM – 9/13 @ 5PM / COLLECTIVE PRE-SALE: 9/14 @ 2PM – 9/15 @ 10PM Password: fakeempire / ON-SALE: 9/16 @ 11AM
09: MONTREAL, QC CANADA / CENTRE BELL // w/ NEKO CASE + WYE OAK // PRE-SALE: 9/22 @ 9AM-6PM / ON-SALE: 9/23 @ 12PM
12: NEW YORK, NY / BEACON THEATRE // w/ THE WAR ON DRUGS // AMEX PRE-SALE: 9/14 @ 11AM / ON-SALE: 9/16 @ 11AM
13: NEW YORK, NY / BEACON THEATRE // w/ SHARON VAN ETTEN // AMEX PRE-SALE: 9/14 @ 11AM / ON-SALE: 9/16 @ 11AM
14: NEW YORK, NY / BEACON THEATRE // w/ SO PERCUSSION // AMEX PRE-SALE: 9/14 @ 11AM / ON-SALE: 9/16 @ 11AM
15: NEW YORK, NY / BEACON THEATRE // w/ WYE OAK // AMEX PRE-SALE: 9/14 @ 11AM / ON-SALE: 9/16 @ 11AM
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