photos by Tim Griffin
"The National had debuted the opening track from their new album High Violet (May 11 on 4AD) on Jimmy Fallon on Wednesday night (video) which set the stage for what The Bell House performances would bring. Playing to a packed house, we were privileged to hear 10 songs not from any of the albums, thus presumably all on "High Violet." In form with everything the National have every put together, all of the tracks were really wonderful, but too many new ones for me to give substantive commentary. Bryce thanked the crowd and confessed that tonight was the first night that many of these songs were being performed live and though I'd never heard 10 of them live, several have been played in the past. Often when bands I know play songs I'm not familiar with, it can be off-putting, but hearing these songs just heightened my anticipation for the release of High Violet. Apparently the band has gotten so deep into the new album that some of the old songs seem like distant memories, as Matt laughed at himself when he couldn't remember how to begin Start a War, needing the audience to get him started, reminding me of Dylan's 1964 performance of I Don't Believe You (She Acts Like We Never Have Met). Matt also opened up a little on some of his earlier songs, mentioning that his wife Carin Besser co-wrote two of my favorite songs from Boxer, namely Slow Show and Apartment Story; two songs that I really think makes The National one of the best story-teller bands." [backseat sandbar]The National played their first of two shows at the Bell House last night (3/11). Their band was filled out by both Padma Newsome and Thomas Bartlett (Doveman), as well as Kyle Resnick on trumpet, Ben Lanz on trombone, and Takka Takka's Conrad Doucette on percussion. The second Bell House show is tonight (3/12). More pictures and the setlist from last night, below...