Following the release of two surprise albums this year, First Two Pages Of Frankenstien and Laugh Track, The National played the first show of their European tour in Dublin’s 3arena. They played a whopping 28 song set, comprising of never before played songs and of course some classics.
Supporting them was Nashville native indie rock band Soccer Mommy. They are an act I’ve been dying to catch so to say I was excited when they were announced as support was an understatement. They opened with Bones, the opening track from their most recent album titled Sometimes, Forever. They continued to play tracks from their albums Color Theory and Clean. Some of the highlights for me were Circle The Drain, Shotgun and Crawling In My Skin. They excited the crowd with an exceptional cover of Sheryl Crowe’s Soak Up The Sun, a cover from the band’s most recent project Karaoke Night, a collection of covers of some of lead singer Sophie Allison’s favourite songs. Sophie’s smooth vocals and the band’s fresh yet retro sound made for an enjoyable set.
The National opened to a room of screaming fans with Once Upon A Poolside, a piano-led ballad, and a perfect opening track, featuring lyrics like “Walk-ons almost over”. The Brooklyn band’s love an appreciation for their fans was showcased numerous times throughout the night. Frontman Matt Berninger came down into the crowd just 2 songs into the set, screaming the words of Eucalyptus alongside adoring fans. The set featured a great mix of louder songs which showcased their fresh, explosive sound, and songs featuring minimal instruments which allowed Berninger’s brooding vocals to shine. The Crowd erupted when the first note of fan favourite from their 2010 album High Violet, Bloodbuzz Ohio played. The entire arena was on its feet for that one.
Some other highlight tracks for me were Demons, Conversation 16, and About Today. During one of my personal favorites, I Need My Girl, I was in awe of just how much Berninger’s deep, distinct vocals filled the room. Absolutely one of the best vocal talents I’ve ever witnessed. The visuals on screen and the lights were also exceptional and really added to the atmosphere the music was creating. The Band’s progression and success through the years really became apparent during Abel, which they dedicated to fans who had attended their 2005 gig in Whelan’s.
They ended the night playing Vanderlyle, Crybaby Geeks, another song from their LP High Violet. Overall, The National put on a fantastic show which only added to my enjoyment of their discography. I’d highly recommend catching them next time they play your city!