Looks who's back playing the small venues -- The once almighty The National. One day you're headlining two nights at Radio City Music Hall. The next, it's a basement below a bigger venue. Next stop is the state fair and traveling rodeo circuit. Oh, how the mighty have fallen.
Say what? This was a surprise, last minute gig for MTV? Hmmmmmm. That would explain the cameras and notification that my beautiful face might be used for promotional purposes. Well, I am not a sell out who just gets invited to shows to tell people that MTV has a series called Live In NYC that features popular artists such as The National. I will not be persuaded to tell my large, loyal readership that The National will be MTV's PUSH artist the week of February 21st, the same day you can watch tonight's footage. I cannot be bought!
You see what I did there?
My brain is in the midst of thawing right now. When it's done, the headache will set in from the guy standing next to me screaming his fat head off. If you were there, you know what I'm talking about. We're not talking in the general facility, I'm talking next to me that I had to cover my ears over my ear plugs.
We had to suffer a little bit for our huge warming ray of sunshine called The National. While 2007 was their breakout year, 2010 was the breakout year for those who weren't paying attention in 2007. As I've told many times before, there was time where people walked out on them. Case in point, when Clap Your Hands Say Yeah opened up for them in 2005, half the crowd left after they were done -- leaving The National playing to a half full Bowery Ballroom. Tisk tisk, scenesters.
In any event, tonight's show was a great reminder of those pre-breakout years when they dutifully played small venues. I'm thinking my favorite gig was their Johnny Brenda's appearance in 2007. Although, their set during All-Points West in a torrential downpour was something epic.
- The Runaway
- Anyone's Ghost
- Bloodbuzz Ohio
- Slow Show
- Squalor Victoria
- Afraid Of Everyone
- Conversation 16
- Lucky You
- Fake Empire
- Mr. November
- Terrible Love
That's a damn fine setlist for a 75-minute gig. As I expected, the band plays their heart out no matter what the circumstances are or the size of the stage. Berninger is much more a exciting performer now, then he was back in the day. He screams, he jumps on things, he rocks back and forth and even tried doing a little crowd surfing. Can you blame him? That band has progressed nicely into one of the premiere American rock bands. High Violet was my top album of 2010. The artistry that went into that album was unmatched.
Despite the rather cramped settings, this was great show to witness. They picked all crowd pleasing tracks from High Violet, The Boxer and Alligator. Lucky You from Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers was a nice surprise. As Matt noted, they bolded songs that were going to be broadcasted so that they know not to fuck it up. When Matt mentioned the taping for MTV, he insisted that all the songs were inspired by Jersey Shore.
Now, the show had a few tickets up for grabs yesterday, so it wasn't all industry people, media and what have yous. Heck, you need people to react to band for the cameras. Surely, the audio will capture the most annoying guy ever who yelled "Ada" between every song. This is not an exaggeration, he did it 2-3 times between every song. And after every time, the crowd would groan in unison. Matt believed that if you tell a joke a thousand times, that it will eventually get funny. This wasn't funny. Bryce wanted to meet the guy. Go ahead, he'll be stalking you later. "Ada" was never played. I wouldn't even put that song in their their Top 20.
It was packed, we waited outside in the wind and cold for a slow moving line, you couldn't move around inside -- such is the life of semi-private gigs for the industry. Oh woe is me. I was originally against the soundboard, but I was getting freaked out a bit from the crush so I went to the far side of the stage, where the screaming fan was. This is how I saw the whole show.