When your favorite band starts getting successful there are many potential pitfalls, but among the two deadliest are overproduction and happiness. The verdict was still out on The National when I went to last night's show at Radio City Music Hall. Though there's much to love in their latest contribution, High Violet, the album is certainly overproduced for my liking. So when the horns and strings sections took the stage, I worried. Knowing that Matt Berninger has settled with his family in Brooklyn didn't do much to ease my concern. Sure, I'm glad when bands are rewarded in life for their talents, but when I want to roil in my discontent, gimme yer angst. As they made their black-suited way to the mics and I looked around at the bearded, plaid-shirt wearing crowd, I knew that at least the testosterone-heavy atmosphere would provide some level of satisfaction.
Of course, I wouldn't bother with this post if the show didn't deliver much more than that. Check me out, a bona fide booster in a band T-shirt! Jeezus.
They brought all their unhappy poetry to blazing life, screaming into the mics, pulling out a freaking violin bow to make the guitar cry and yes, even jumping into the crowd. The 4-second clip below was all I could muster when Berninger made his way DIRECTLY AT ME.
Ok, I think he was aiming more toward the swarm of journalists behind me, but that's the cynic in me. Fact is, he did it again at the end of the set, climbing into the rafters and giving it to the mezzanine during "Mr. November." Yes yes yes. And yet, the final verdict–go see 'em now!–comes with a caveat–before it's too late.