• The Passion of the Weiss
  • Gorilla vs. Bear
  • Greencine Daily
  • Music Is Art
  • Shake Your Fist
  • Big Stereo
  • The New Yorker
  • The Torture Garden
  • Ear Farm
  • J'ai la cassette à la maison
  • The Hater
  • The Yellow Stereo
  • Movie City Indie
  • Fader
  • Covert Curiosity
  • Chromewaves
  • Sucka Pants
  • AV Club
  • Tinyways
  • Palms Out
  • Girish Shambu
  • So Much Silence
  • Heart On A Stick
  • Untitled
  • Sixeyes
  • The Documentary Blog
  • Contrast Podcast
  • Fecal Face
  • Quick, Before It Melts
  • Muzzle of Bees
  • La Blogothèque
  • The Rawking Refuses To Stop
  • Music For Kids Who Can't Read Good
  • indieWIRE
  • Gimme Tinnitus
  • Conscientious
  • Toothpaste For Dinner
  • Cable & Tweed
  • Culture Bully
  • Oceans Never Listen
  • Juxtapoz
  • I Am Fuel, You Are Friends
  • Subinev
  • Bookslut
  • Filles Sourires
  • Berkeley Place
  • Get Underground
  • Nah Right
  • Motel de Moka
  • Raven Sings The Blues
  • Fact
  • Missing Toof
  • Badical Beats
  • Clap Cowards
  • Chuckmore
  • Anthem
  • It's the right thing to do
  • Something is wrong here, something is terribly wrong
  • There ain't no life for me on land
  • The greatest #8: The Dreaming
  • Still I walk in darkness
  • Home of the cheesesteak, the beef piled sky high
  • Blogiversary #2
  • Blood rain
  • The best 15 films of 2007
  • The best 30 albums of 2007
  • The best 30 singles of 2007
  • The best 30 songs of 2007
  • The Greatest #6: Veedon Fleece
  • Behind the blog: Blogs Are For Dogs
  • It's winter again and New York's been broken
  • Blogiversary
  • Up high and ugly: Xiu Xiu MP3s
  • The Greatest #2: New Skin For The Old Ceremony
  • Behind the blog: The Passion of the Weiss
  • The best 15 films of 2006
  • Good clean fun: Clean Guns MP3s
  • Behind the blog: Music Is Art
  • United 93
  • The best 30 albums of 2006
  • The best 30 songs of 2006
  • The best 30 singles of 2006
  • The chapter in my life entitled San Francisco
  • The Up Series
  • Review #4: Ys by Joanna Newsom
  • Happy Yom Kippur
  • Rock bottom riser: Smog MP3s
  • Justin Ringle
  • Dan McGee
  • Sebastian Krueger, pt. 2
  • Sebastian Krueger, pt. 1
  • Bry Webb
  • Greg Goldberg, pt. 2
  • Greg Goldberg, pt. 1
  • Benoît Pioulard, pt. 2
  • Benoît Pioulard, pt. 1
  • Kevin O'Connor
  • Conrad Standish
  • Chris Bear
  • Owen Ashworth
  • Andrew Bujalski
  • My Photo
    Location: Brooklyn, NY

    The MP3s available here are for sampling purposes. Please support the artists by buying their albums and going to their shows. If you are the artist or label rep and don't want an MP3 featured, let me know. Links will otherwise stay live for about two weeks before they vanish into the ether.

    If you'd like to send music, art, writing or promo material for consideration, email me at nerdlitter[at]yahoo[dot]com. This site is designed in Firefox and may not look optimal in other browsers. You can get Firefox here.

    Powered by Blogger

    Friday, October 20, 2006

    The National @ Great American Music Hall, 10-12-06

    "We’re the heirs to the glimmering world," the crowd sang along in a shaky voice. "We’re the heirs to the glimmering world." It was one of the more moving concert moments I'll have this year, rendering one of the National's best lines even more magical. All that hope and regeneration, all that promise of youth and potential echoed by some of the people who'd be doing the inheriting. It was yet another reminder of how endless my love for this band is, of how Matt Berninger's mysterious lyrics only deepen with every listen. But wonderfully enough, it was also just one high point among many.

    Another clear high point was opener Baby Dayliner. Wow, how do I even begin to describe Baby Dayliner? He looked like a cross between Vanilla Ice and Randy Travis, shimmied and swayed like a Star Search contestant, and crooned like some mix of Vegas headliner and classic soul legend. With his prerecorded beats pumping out of a soundsystem, he became a one-man-sensation, right down to his pompadour and suit jacket. It was all ridiculously entertaining, not to mention sonically fresh. Better yet, his performance never crossed into the tempting danger zones of irony or quotation. Baby Dayliner was just doing his electro-pop-neo-soul-retro-new-wave thing and doing it extremely well. And just to top out his cool factor completely? The man had none other than Ian Bavitz among his crew that night.

    Baby Dayliner performing "At Least"

    Next up was the Mobius Band, a young threesome from Brooklyn-via-Massachusetts not quite as original as their antecedent. At first, they trafficked in the kind of hooky guitar alternarock that defined mid-90s indie: catchy enough but indistinctive. But my interest was piqued when they started incorporating more electronic elements. That’s where their sound picked up and they started standing apart. I’d be interested to see where Mobius Band will go next and if they can separate themselves from the pack a little further.

    Mobius Band perform "I Just Turned 18"

    And then it was time for the main event. Members of the National came up on stage, casually testing their equipment, as I jockeyed for the best position in the front row. The hall was getting more and more packed, more stray elbows finding their way to my back. But then the lights dimmed and everyone collectively relaxed and rejoiced. The band wasted no time in testing out new material, kicking off with “Start A War” from their as-yet-untitled fourth LP due in March. It was expectedly lovely and melodic, one of those songs in the vein of “Cherry Tree” that are bound to creep up on you.

    "Walk away now, you're gonna start a war"

    From there, it was a heavy dose of Alligator, which if you don’t already know was by far my favorite album of 2005. So yeah, I was pretty enraptured. (That’s a generous way of saying I was embarrassing and singing along with every song and taking pictures like a parent at a graduation ceremony.) Early on, their deliveries of songs like "Secret Meeting" and "Lit Up" hewed faithfully to the recorded versions, but as the set went on, the band started to experiment. The guitars and bass led the charge, with the Dessner brothers and Scott Devendorf adding raucous fuzz and volume in unexpected ways. Australian violist/violinist Padma Newsome, also Bryce Dessner's cohort in Clogs, was equally essential, jumping into the mix with stirring energy.

    The band also featured two other new songs I'd never heard before. They fit inconspicuously into the repertoire, not too stylistically different from their surrounding material. If they’re a fair indication of the overall sound to come, the National will keep on refining but not redefining its songcraft. But it’ll be very interesting to find out in March how they'll end up turning out.

    The National perform one of their new songs

    Then it was back to cranking up Alligator with some divergences into Cherry Tree. (The only two songs from their last album not to appear were "Val Jester" and unfortunately "Friend of Mine.") I was hoping for a curveball pluck from their back catalogue along the lines of "Pay For Me" or "90-Mile Water Wall," but the band seemed more intent on looking forward.

    As always, one of the best versions of the night was "Abel," which is just destined to rock live. Berninger's twitchy, unhinged performance adds another compelling layer to the music, as he cradles the mic to his ear and suddenly detonates into the chorus. The only two versions that didn’t work for me were "All The Wine" and "Looking For Astronauts," which were too noisy and unfocused and drowned out the vocals. Berninger also forwent awesomely screaming "I'm in a STATE! I'm in a STATE!" on the former, as I saw him do in February and at earlier shows.

    The National came back for a three-song chorus, closing with another new player to the team, "Fake Empire." It was another great set by one of my all-time favorite bands, only stoking my hunger to see them again and soon. Scott Devendorf came out and talked a little, shaking a few hands. Someone asked where the National was heading next. "We’ll be in Eugene tomorrow, then Portland after that," he said. Hmm... I could probably make it up to Eugene by tomorrow, I thought, already envisioning the miles of open road and hitchhiking set to the score of "Driver, Surprise Me." Instead, I forced myself to wander back onto the street, galvanized, exhausted, thrilled, and totally ready to inherit that glimmering world out there.
    Note the Bryce Dessner autograph
    *MP3: The National - Cherry Tree (Live) from Black Sessions, 11-17-2003
    *MP3: The National - In A State (Live) from Black Sessions, 11-17-2003 (later renamed to "All The Wine") [Buy other National]
    *MP3: Baby Dayliner - At Least from Critics Pass Away
    *MP3: Baby Dayliner - Critics Pass Away from Critics Pass Away [Buy it]
    *MP3: Mobius Band - The Loving Sounds of Static from The Loving Sounds of Static [Buy it]
    *Band Website: The National
    *Band Website: Baby Dayliner
    *Band Website: Mobius Band

    Tags: , , , , ,

    Comments on "The National @ Great American Music Hall, 10-12-06"


    Blogger Dust Road said ... (1:02 AM) : 

    thanx for the review and the sneak preview on the National's new songs. i'm literaly holding my breath till their next album.


    post a comment