Ilya S. Savenok, Getty Images The sad news came across late Wednesday afternoon…
- Posted on Jun 3rd 2010 11:30AM by Linda Laban
Augmented by a two-man horn team and a pianist/violinist, the Brooklyn-based quintet built up the brooding angst of the mid-tempo song until it was a jarring anthem. It was a dramatic snapshot, typical for this band, and allegorical perhaps for their steady 10-year career, which has grown from inauspicious rootsy-rock beginnings to become one of this decade's first indie success stories.
Wearing his customary suit, vest and tie, Berninger appeared the least likely hipster or hotshot. In a music world where the next thing -- not even the next big thing -- with quick-fix tunes rules the day, it's amazing to find a slow-churning band like the National gaining not only adulation and respect, but also a No. 3 debut on the Billboard album chart with its May-released fifth album, 'High Violet.'
"This is a new song," Berninger announced, introducing 'Anyone's Ghost,' a charging rocker. After, he quipped that it was "at the top of the charts," adding a snarling dismissive, "We're like, yeah," as if embarrassed by such foolish popularity contests. Mostly, these purposeful masters of stoicism got on with what they do. Culling mostly from the latter, more recognized part of their career, they pulled out songs triumphant only in their acceptance -- timely rock noir for bleak times.