I’m very new to The National and their fifth and latest album, High Violet, is my first from the Brooklyn-via-Ohio crew. But after seeing their performance at The Pageant, I have a good feeling that I’ll soon be making my way through their earlier albums. Taking the stage densely coated with blue lighting, The National kicked off a set incredibly filled with tension and mood. Between Matt Berninger’s boomingly low vocals, the Dessner brothers helming the guitars and the thickly colored lighting punctuating the darkness, the crowd was intensely engaged, as if watching a suspense film play out. It’s impressive that The National can be so entertaining considering the band’s dark and dismal lyrics, but when you see the resilience of the band members leading the charge, it’s hard to not get a little inspired and enjoy the journey.
More notes and pictures after the jump.
-I’m still learning the ropes in formal photo pits, so under 3-song circumstances I sometimes get so focused on shooting that I don’t really have a chance to savor the songs. Thankfully as I walked out of the photo pit, the band ripped into “Bloodbuzz Ohio,” my favorite song of theirs at the moment. For the start of my evening as a listener and not a photographer, I couldn’t have asked for a better start.
-I wish I could pull off suits like these guys.
-The band brought along extra musicians which was a great bonus and helped fill the songs even more. Loved the horn section.
-I wasn’t able to stay for the entire set, so I apparently missed out on the awkward banter and Berninger’s trip into the pit and bar tables. Roy Kasten over at the RFT documented the experience.
-Favorite band item for sale? The National-skull-lightbulb towel.