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The National

The National at The Electric Factory in Philadelphia, May 29th, 2009

Jun 16, 2009 Web Exclusive
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It says something that even two years after it was released, The National’s Boxer still feels fresh. Same can be said for the 4-year-old tracks from Alligator, both of which were featured heavily in the quintet’s recent stop in Philly.

If there’s one complaint to be had it’s Philadelphia audiences, a sizable group of whom, having paid good money to see a band, seem determined to talk over a show rather than actually watch the band they paid to see.

As for the music, “Start A War” came off more defiant than the record’s defeated-sounding interpretation, whereas the intimacy of “Slow Show” was somewhat undone by the clean electric guitar, as opposed to the record’s straight acoustic. The band, normally a quintet, was backed live by keys and a three-piece brass section, most notably present on “Squalor Victoria” and “Fake Empire.”

Boxer is a more subdued record than its predecessor—which had a few well-placed moments of assertiveness and aggression—but live settings of “Mistaken For Strangers” and “Squalor Victoria” channeled that same element, alongside similar tracks from Alligator, including “Abel” and “Mr. November,” one of the few moments of the show in which frontman Matt Berninger ventured beyond his center-stage post and ambled near the left edge of the stage, singing to the balconies.

The tour also offered a glance at a few new tracks, including “Runaway” and “Blood Buzz, Ohio,” both of which fit well in the band’s catalog without deviating from the established successful format

Set List

1. “Runaway”

2. “Start A War”

3. “Mistaken For Strangers”

4. “Brainy”

5. “Secret Meeting”

6. “Baby, We’ll Be Fine”

7. “Slow Show”

8. “Vandyrach Fiday”

9. “Squalor Victoria”

10. “All The Wine”

11. “Abel”

12. “Ada”

13. “Apartment Story”

14. “Green Gloves”

15. “Fake Empire”

Encore:

16. “Blood Buzz, Ohio”

17. “Mr. November”

18. “About Today”

Author rating: 6/10




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Nissan Xterra Supercharger
August 28th 2010
2:31pm

The song’s positioning reflected some of the bands changes in the past year and half. After the 2007 tour, the National took a break during which they released the Virginia EP, began work on the Dark Was the Night compilation, and wrote some tentative songs for an untitled album. With no new album as of yet, the current tour is without an immediate catalyst, and lyrics to “Runaway” reeked of an identity crisis—or at the very least, an energy crisis that has given way to an achy, slivery disassociation…

Nissan Xterra Supercharger
August 30th 2010
1:57pm

After the 2007 tour, the National took a break during which they released the Virginia EP, began work on the Dark Was the Night compilation, and wrote some tentative songs for an untitled album.

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November 10th 2014
6:58pm

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