The National @ Bell House

After spending most of the day with congestion and the sorest of throats, I found myself in the midst of fortune's presence.  It was only by chance that I would have the opportunity to see the National play at the Bell House, a far cry from the size of venues they perform on their regularly scheduled tour dates.  Of course, I was not going to pass up this rare chance to see new material from an excellent band in the National; not to mention that I had not seen them perform live to this point.

With the buzz from their show of the night before still in the air, you knew their performance was going to be special.  The anticipation grew feverishly until the band took the stage to thunderous applause.  With the many postings of 'absolutely no photography of any kind', I was slightly reluctant to shooting any video but once they took the stage, I knew I had to capture what I could; it was obvious that the photography policy was being violated at will.  And by the look of the band, they didn't seem to mind and I would have put my camera up immediately had they said something.

They opened their set with "Sorrow", apparently the happiest song on their latest effort, High Violet; not my words, but theirs.  The first few songs were from High Violet, which all seemed to have a good vibe about them.  From there, it was a mix bag of oldies but goodies and newer selections.  One of the standout performances was of "Able", an older track but one that bleeds intensity onstage; was pretty fantastic.  They ended their set with the ever popular "Fake Empire" before exiting the stage; after rousing cheers, they came back for an encore.  They played two new songs around an older one during the encore ("Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks"/"Mr. November"/"Terrible Love") and ended the show on the highest of notes.   Set list is as such:

Anyone's Ghost
Little Faith (Chrome Horse)
Mistaken For Strangers
Secret Meeting
Afraid of Everyone
Bloodbuzz Ohio
All the Wine
Apartment Story
Conversation 16
Daughters of the Soho Riots
Fake Empire
Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks
Mr. November
Terrible Love

The show was excellent from start to finish and ranks with some of the best shows I've seen.  The quality of their music combined with their stage presence and performance make for one of the better bands out there today.  If you haven't seen them yet, do your best to catch them when you can.  Also look for High Violet when it releases on May 11th.  Videos of the show are below:

The National @ Bell House The National @ Bell House Reviewed by Scott Rowe, Editor on March 13, 2010 Rating: 5
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