Reborn and refreshed, The National play songs from their latest album at an intimate, glorious B&W video from their show in the storied Bearsville Theater in Woodstock, NY.
09 June 2023 | James Porteous | Clipper Media News
Many bands that have achieved a certain level of popularity in music today often find themselves at a creative crossroads.
Should they remain true to the loyal fans who have come to expect what might now be a cardboard replica of their past musical aspirations, or should they risk possible anger and resentment and follow their own creative path?
It would appear that The National has reached that point.
Well, in truth, perhaps they have done so many times.
Lyrically they have, by nature, continued to nurture the same well, but musically they have always appeared reluctant to stray too far from the ‘rock’ of Boxer or Alligator.
At first glance, their latest, First Two Pages of Frankenstein, seems to indicate they have remained true to the solid if well-worn meditative odes of the past.
But… Here we have ‘The National performing an intimate show for 500 people at the Bearsville Theater in Woodstock, NY. There they debuted much of their new album First Two Pages of Frankenstein.’
The result is quite extraordinary. Not only does the beautiful black and white video capture every nuance of the songs, both old and new, but we also see a renewed, even reinvigorated passion within the band, featuring searing guitar interplay and faith in the melodies that in the past often seemed to play second fiddle to the lyrics.
Matt Berninger has found new confidence in his role as the exposed, emotional live-wire of the band.
Yes, he remains lost in a stream of unconsciousness, carried away by fears of the past and future, yet one cannot help but feel a renewed sense of – dare I say it – optimism.
Yes, life is life, he seems to be suggesting, but fuck ‘em if they can’t take a joke.
James Porteous | Clipper Media News
Once Upon A Poolside – 00:00:35
Eucalyptus – 00:04:11
New Order T-Shirt – 00:08:28
This Isn’t Helping – 00:13:20
Tropic Morning News – 00:17:02
Alien – 00:22:16
Grease In Your Hair – 00:26:33
Ice Machines – 00:30:47
Your Mind Is Not Your Friend – 00:34:59
Send For Me – 00:39:37
Don’t Swallow The Cap – 00:44:08
Bloodbuzz Ohio – 00:48:48
The System Only Dreams In Total Darkness – 00:54:02
Light Years – 00:58:19
Graceless – 01:01:36
Fake Empire – 01:06:31
Terrible Love – 01:10:05
About Today – 01:15:50
Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks – 01:22:22
First Two Pages of Frankenstein is the ninth studio album by the American indie rock band the National, released on April 28, 2023, by 4AD. The album was produced by The National at Long Pond studio in upstate New York and features guest appearances from Sufjan Stevens, Phoebe Bridgers, and Taylor Swift.
The National debuted new songs at intimate Woodstock show
On Saturday (3/4), The National played an intimate set at the Bearsville Theater in Woodstock, NY. Announced early last week, it served as a warmup for their spring and summer tour supporting their upcoming album First Two Pages Of Frankenstein. Billed as “A Special Evening with The National,” the show was presented by Radio Woodstock 100.1, and recorded — hopefully to be released in some form in the future.
The National’s 19-song set included the live debut of several tracks off First Two Pages. They played 10 of the album’s 11 tracks (“The Alcott” was missing), and also some well-loved older songs, including “Don’t Swallow The Cap,” “Bloodbuzz Ohio,” “Graceless,” “Fake Empire,” and more. Check out the full setlist and fan-shot photos and videos below.