Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images Nine days after the deadly tornado that touched…
- Posted on Aug 12th 2009 2:00PM by Rebecca Laurence
The setting for the National's one-night UK stand, the grand 3000-seat Royal Festival Hall, is testament to how the band's status has been stealthily growing in the UK in recent years.
While fans are awaiting a follow-up to 2007's 'Boxer' from the Brooklyn-based five-piece, guitarist brothers Bryce and Aaron Dessner have kept busy, producing the 2009 Red Hot Organization charity compilation 'Dark Was the Night,' featuring standout contributions from Sufjan Stevens, Grizzly Bear and Bon Iver.
A new LP from the National is purported to be arriving at some point in early 2010 and the band are midway through a whistlestop tour of festivals and one-off shows in Europe and North America."Play the hits!" shouted a heckler after 'Slow Show,' to which Berninger wryly replied, "These are the hits."
The night's set list drew heavily from 2005's 'Alligator' and 'Boxer,' while new songs 'The Runaway', 'Vanderlyle CB' and 'Blood Buzz Ohio' were given an airing for the increasingly-appreciative London audience, along with 'Available' from their 2003 'LP Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers.'
Highlights included a rabble-rousing mass chorus sing-along of 'Mr. November', which Berninger led from the middle of the auditorium, and a heart-wrenchingly hushed 'About Today' from the 'Cherry Tree EP' as the finale, proving the band can do mellow and anguished with equal aplomb.
Her Majesty may have missed out, but the Royal Festival Hall's crowd considered this band a "National" treasure.