I’ve always had a casual love of the National’s recorded music on album. There’s a bit of a buzzed soothing haze about Matt Berninger’s subdued baritone vocal intonations. And the music feels like a warm-blanket of barroom Americana, with a slightly anxious perversion lurking beneath the surface.
Admittedly, though, I’ve never quite connected with the National as a live band. I’ve seen them a few times, a few months ago at the Hollywood Bowl, and back in 2013 at the Hollywood Forever Cemetery, both outdoor venues. Don’t get me wrong. I’ve enjoyed their performance each time. Yet I’ve never been quite sure if I really got them as a live act.
The Hollywood Palladium show was different. At the outset, Berninger told the crowd as enthusiastically as he’s capable, that the band had never performed at the Palladium. And although I don’t recall his exact words, the gist was that the venue was right in his wheelhouse, and the show was going to be awesome because of it.
Below are two tracks the National performed that delivered on that promise, “Graceless” and “Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks.” For me, the performance of these tracks convinced me that the National might just be one of my new favorite live bands … given the right venue, of course.
The National perform “Graceless” from the 2013 album “Trouble Will Find Me.”
The National perform “Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks” from the 2010 album “High Violet.”