Saturday, September 20, 2008

the national/menomena - moore theater 9-19-08

wow. if i keep going to only great shows, could it possibly make me more of a music snob?

first of all, i'm going to try to be brief with my criticism of the crowd. they are getting to be more and more obtrusive it seems as i get older, but that could be part of the process. to the woman exalting in orgasmic yesses during 'fake empire- no the drummer doesn't have to be cued and no it's probably not the greatest social tendency to scream "do that shit!" after every drum fill. i didn't know if she was drunk or just plain vanilla stupid, but she will go in the vaults under annoying.


after hearing my brother rant about this band various occassions, i finally got the opportunity to see why. their cd, i feel is a bit drier and calculating then their live show, (most good bands are), even though they are so technical and precise.

like most of my brother's favorite music their set started with some white noise as the drummer madly pantomimed his drumming. he looked delirious, as in a trance like state and then in a split second he began beating the holy hell out of his kit. it reminded me of a surgeon but one whose incisions are more akin to being stabbed by a deranged junky on the ave, albeit one who navigates around your liver with extreme accuracy, pulls it out and puts it on an alter as a sacrifice. the bearded bassist/guitarist/alto saxophonist is definitely one of the better bassists i've seen with seasoned moves on the fretboard. the keyboardist/ebowing guitarist/singer was amazing. mostly he danced lightly on the keyboard but he later brought out some huge sounds more a la concertos. he sung most of my favorite song, wet and rusting, which was amazing.

then came time to set up for the national. a lot of seats had been vacant, some were filled but a ton of people went to the front, which i've never seen, mind you i've only been on the lower floor for sigur ros in 2002. thank god the stage seating which still gave us perfect view despite "crazy dancer" next to me who continued to sway to and fro like a drunken bear. i just have a notion that the national brings out the drinker in us, and yes we must have sat next to more than a couple of fans full of liquid fuel for the national.

the band got on the stage after a brief video about co-ops which was awesome. i'm a big fan of local farms and fresh food. the national came onstage, matt was wearing dark rimmed glasses and seemed a less drunk than the last show, and they chose to open with 'start a war'. this time there was no violin added by padma newsome, but someone was in his place playing keys and working with a whole arsenal of pedals.

we were very excited to see the national was flanked this time by a bassoon, a trombone and a trumpet; excellent to have backing such a well rounded cd as boxer. they were really overpowering at first, but they adjusted the volume to a nice level later. the band had a really strong performance, playing all of boxer but my favorite ‘guestroom’ and ‘gospel’ and decided to throw in a couple of older songs which were a good surprise, including 'abel', 'secret meeting', and 'mr. november', which they are selling shirts with obama's mug on.

matt continues to go all out on stage, apparently he quit smoking recently and was complaining that his voice doesn't go as far as it used to since then. he jokingly asked for a cigarette and then said "no, that's bad". his voice was in dire straits near the end of the concert, bordering on the side of deep croaks, but he still puts 110% into the show and as his voice strains more, the songs seem to hit a more emotive vein. another funny berninger quip was him dedicating 'abel' to menomena and the croc who closed shortly after the show they played last there with menomena. matt was going on to talk about percentages of dedication and kept changing his mind. he paused and then quizzed "so is it clear? who this is dedicated to?"

they chose to end it on the song 'mr. november'. very fitting for the election:
"i won't fuck us over, i'm mr. november" - possibly echoing all our political fears

great show