Sunday, September 30, 2007
The National at the Madison Theater
Last Sunday, I stepped out on the town for a night of indie rock goodness supplied by The National. These guys made their second stop in the Cincinnati area in the last two months, playing a show at the 20th Century Theater back in June. Since I had to miss that get together, I made it a priority not to make the same mistake twice.
The Madison Theater's website described The National as melancholy rock. This assessment isn't entirely off base as The National does deliver the mellow, laid back rock AT TIMES. However, these guys can also ROCK in the parlance of rock music, whatever that means. On some of their songs, such as Mistaken For Strangers, Abel, Mr November, the ROCK translates to their albums. The great thing about seeing these guys live is that they ROCK on lots of their songs, often extending songs past their studio points. We're not talking hippy extension with a boatload of musical masterbation. Instead, we're talking short, intense bursts of music that give the songs more bite than you might get on the CD. For me, I was pleasantly surprised to hear the opening Start A War that played mellow but ended with an extended rock outro that got the crowd hyped. I really didn't expect to head bang at a National show, but there I was, doing just that within the first few minutes.
The show continued this way as The National navigated through a variety of songs from their last two albums, Alligator and Boxer. Below is the setlist and be sure to check out Abel, one of the songs that does rock on their 2005 release, Alligator and Start A War, from 2007's Boxer:
Start A War
Mistaken For Strangers
Baby, We'll Be Fine
All the Wine
Racing Like A Pro
Daughters of the Soho Riots