Review:: The National @ Richard's on Richards

Normally, I would have been quite happy to sit on my ass and hoist pints watching Lucero, but getting the chance to finally see the National was too good to pass up. Alligator was one of my favorite records last year, and despite the fact that lots of people seem to hate this band, last night’s show reaffirmed how much I love them.

Normally, when you are talking about Indie bands, the staying power of an album is similar to that of a high school freshman. A couple of tracks and you are on to the next big thing. With the National, I’ve been listening to the record for almost two years and from the first note of Secret Meeting last night, I quickly realized I love it as much now as I did then.

What followed after that note was the second of two fantastic sets I saw that rank amongst the best I’ve seen all year. The National looks like a band you shouldn’t like. More accurately, they look like a band you’d have no opinion about. A crazy violin player with a braided pony tail. A bass player that kind of looks like Hunter S. A lead singer that looks eerily similar to the stereotypical cool dad. If you saw them on the street, you’d never assume they were a band, let alone an incredibly tight one.

The set was mostly tracks from Alligator (The Geese of Beverly Road, Lit Up, All the Wine, Looking for Astronauts, Baby We’ll Be Fine which suited me fine, but it was the dynamic of the band was made the show so great. For the majority of the show, Matt held the mic while holding onto the sleeve of his shirt. He was like a port in the storm as the rest of the band seemed to be in constant uncontrollable motion, playing off each other perfectly. Gradual build ups, extended outros, and intense energy (even on tracks like Daughters of the Soho Riots). Wall of sound is a term all to thrown out way too often, but last night we all walked into one.

The crowd enjoyed every moment, especially screaming along to Mr. November as Matt moved frantically around the front of the stage and Andy, Bryce and Scott ripped through the song. If it’s possible, I think I like the record even more today.


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