Thursday, October 4, 2007

Photo Essay - The National @ Wiltern Theatre 9/28/07

I guess because it is so rare nowadays, but it's always nice to see a band gain fame and notoriety who actually deserves it. Thanks in large part to the critical success of their superb latest album Boxer, New York five piece band The National has enjoyed a higher profile recently than in years past. Last Friday I got to see them live for the first time as they returned to Los Angeles to play a sold out show at the Wiltern Theatre and I definitely saw why this band is so special.

A bonus treat for me was getting to see opener St. Vincent perform. While she had to make due with out the assistance of a band, she ended up adapting her material off her excellent debut album Marry Me for a solo performance by programming backing tracks on an MPC and making liberal use of her effects pedals. The result was a choppy, but enjoyable set that was just enough to make me want to see more (especially when she comes into town headlining her own bill with a full band).

I don't know the violin dude's name, but he was all over the place. He spent time on the keyboards, melodica and shredding up the stage with his intense violin playing. He may look like Harry Anderson, but his stage theatrics were pretty fun to watch.

Another good part of the show was lead singer Matt Berninger's vocal delivery. He really looks as though he is putting every ounce of effort into his singing and it seems like the rest of the band feeds off of that.

During the encore St. Vincent was brought on stage to provide backup vocals and also to get serenaded by the crowd with a rendition of Happy Birthday. They even brought out a cake with candles and everything. I thought it was a worthy end to the night since the band's performance was itself worthy of a celebration.

Another group shot

More feverish violin jamming.

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