I Prefer The Obscure Remix Blog

High treason. They’ll have my head for this!


So I just got back from The National. Yes, I caved and went. This is rapidly turning into a blog on live music, or confessions of a gig-goer. Maybe I should change the name to Belle De Tour! Anyway, I really wanted to see them, as I think they’re an intriguing band. They’re not the type of band you’d ever expect to hear on daytime radio, and their songs are generally left of centre, but somehow they’ve managed to hit the bigtime in Ireland, relatively speaking. I was a massive fan of Alligator, and I think Boxer and Sad Songs For Dirty Lovers are pretty good too. For me, it’s all about the drummer (Bryan Devendorf), and to a lesser extent, the singer (Matt Berninger). Take away either of these and I think The National would be an average band. Berninger has an interesting voice, coupled with compelling yet opaque lyrics. The drummer, Bevendorf, has a unique style that really propells the songs, and his rhythms develop and evolve throughout the tracks. He always seems to teeter on the brink of overdoing things, but somehow manages to remain in control, and maintain a consistent level of subtlety. But tonight you couldn’t really hear him, and on record the drums are always really high in the mix, so that was a real disappointment. The singer, Berninger, didn’t really know what to do with himself when he wasn’t called into action, so he generally elected to stand with his back to the audience (not very compelling). I thought the gig was very good but not great, and I expected great. I was surprised by the crowd’s reaction to Fake Empire, but I probably shouldn’t be. It went down really well, but I can’t help thinking it would only be one of the weaker tracks if it had appeared on Alligator. The first hour of the gig seemed like a lesson in restraint, and it was only the last 5-6 songs (when they seemed to loosen up, enjoy themselves, and let go) that I felt really worked. Saying that, it was great to hear Secret Meeting second in the set. I still think it’s their finest moment, and a perfect example of singer and drummer at their best. If you don’t believe me check out youtube, there are clips of drummers trying to play along with the beat. The beat might sound pedestrian, but it’s really intricate and clever. That must sound so pretentious, but it’s all subjective. People like the same band for different reasons, and these are mine. It’s only an opinion, and I know I was in the minority tonight as most people thought it was amazing.

I missed St. Vincent but I heard she was very good, and really fit (thanks Pedro!).

November 2, 2007 Posted by | Dublin, live, Music, Olympia Theatre, Personal, The National | 7 Comments