Concert Review

The National Show How Trouble Will Find Them at Pittsburgh’s Stage AE

-Review by Matt Guerry

New York-based indie rock sensation The National found their way to Stage AE the night of June 11th, 2013.   That evening marked the final stop on their tour wherein they would perform with opening act Dirty Projectors, who brought their own unique and experimental style of rock and roll to the stage.   Following their synth-laden and bombastic setlist, Dirty Projectors were soon followed by the night’s man event.

Streaming from backstage Stage AE, a live feed of the band’s activity was projected onto the screen at the rear of the stage until the band members tore out onto it to thunderous applause.  An act often compared to Joy Division and The Cure, The National has attained critical praise for their own brand of rich and melancholic rock music.  While abandoning the strings that usually accompany their music, the band was joined by musicians who manned the keys and horn accompaniments.  While having an overall harder sound to their music than what fans are used to hearing on an album, The National played a setlist almost twenty-five songs long, and played them pitch-perfect.  Guitarist Aaron Dessner’s ghostly guitar work in conjunction with drummer Bryce Devendorf’s syncopated style of drumming made for an atmospheric and engrossing performance.  Lead singer Matt Berninger’s vocals were flawless, crooning over the microphone in his signature baritone style of singing.  Their set comprised predominantly of songs from their newest album, Trouble Will Find Me, but featured many popular songs from previous efforts High Violet and Boxer.  Fan favorite songs such as About Today were played, and a few older hits for the longtime fans snuck their way in as well.  Most notably was the bands energetic performance of Mr. November, during the course of which Berninger leapt into the audience and sang his way around the standing room floor.  After all was said and done, the band closed their encore with their swelling epic Vanderylyle Crybaby Geeks, coming to the edge of the stage with only their acoustic guitars and brass instruments to accompany them.  Turning the sound off, the theater was filled with the sounds of not only Berninger and his band, but the voices of all of their dedicated fans.  The National may not have attained the fame of other rock bands, but they have acquired a fanbase who follows them devoutly, and one to whom they put on a spectacular show.

Highlight Songs:

Don’t Swallow the Cap

Squalor Victoria

Pink Rabbits

Fake Empire

Mr. November

Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks

 (photos pending)