The National Showcase Fresh Music at Berkeley’s Greek Theatre

08/02/2016

The National’s unreleased seventh studio album is getting closer to release, as evidenced by their July 29th set at Berkeley’s Greek Theatre. The band performed six new songs, while also focusing on material from albums High Violet and Trouble Will Find Me, with a few songs from Boxer, and Alligator. The titles of the new material are temporary, as the band remarked that frontman Matt Berninger changes them every day.

The atmosphere of the night was very relaxed. The sold-out crowd consisted of families, college students, and couples young and old. Berninger kept things light with jokes in between songs, poking fun at their inability to settle on song titles. All in attendance enjoyed a mellow evening together and got a preview of what’s coming next for The National.

Most of the new songs were slower songs with ethereal guitars that backed Berninger’s signature baritone vocals. The way Berninger blends talking with singing, the steady and simplistic drumbeat, the breathing guitars were all there in the new tracks. The National didn’t make any drastic leaps in musical progression. It seems they are sticking with what works for them. Slow, passionate songs about love, heartbreak, anxiety, and self-doubt performed in a very accessible way. Fans will find these new tracks to be fresh but familiar, and these familiarities are what draw so many people to the band.

Setlist:

1. Don’t Swallow the Cap
2. I Should Live in Salt
3. Bloodbuzz Ohio
4. Checking Out of a Collapsing Space*
5. Afraid of Everyone
6. Squalor Victoria
7. I Need My Girl
8. This Is the Last Time
9. Sometimes I Don’t Think*
10. Find A Way*
11. Sea of Love
12. Slow Show
13. The Lights*
14. Pink Rabbits
15. England
16. Morning Dew
17. Fake Empire
18. The Day I Die*

Encore:

19. Prom Song 13th Century*
20. Mr. November
21. Terrible Love

*New song

 

Photos by Leticia Molina