Tuesday, 3 October 2017

The National at Hammersmith Apollo

Hammersmith Apollo is a bit of a trek on a school night, but the National were only playing midweek, albeit 4 consecutive nights, starting on a Monday. Ad my mates had a ticket for the Monday so that was that.

Support came from This is the Kit, not a band I had ever heard of. Subsequent research showed that this is a project of a woman called Kate Stables. The fact that I felt inclined to do the research proves I liked them more than I expected. Good voice and an interesting unusual sound.

The National are a US band with a solid following over here, as shown by the fact they had sold out four nights at the pretty large Apollo. I have seen them described as America's answer to Radiohead, but I think only in the sense that they similarly eschew cheery upbeat numbers. That is pretty much where the similarity ends.

In this performance they very reasonably showcased their new album Sleep Well Beast which I like almost as much as Boxer. This is their 7th album, so they are hardly fresh-faced anymore. They also have the distinction, not matched by any other band I know of, to consist of not one but two pairs of brothers, plus front man Matt Berninger. Matt has a growly sort of voice, and maybe an odd temperament. He seemed in an edgy mood tonight. In appearance I can't help thinking there is a touch of the Jurgen Klopp about him.

But the performance was good, and went down well with an adoring and knowledgeable crowd, able to sing along to most of the obscure lyrics they could pump out. A very stylish lighting set behind them helped make it a memorable show.

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