THE NATIONAL + THE LONE BELLOW @ THE GREEK THEATRE
Photos by Sheva Kafai Recap by Neelofer Lodhy
When a band makes its entrance to a sold out show at The Greek Theatre with The Smith’s “Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want” blasting throughout the venue, it’s certain that attendees are in for an evening to remember. The National was welcomed to a roaring crowd in Los Angeles, one of several dates of a stretched out mini US tour. Vocalist Matt Beringer was accompanied onstage by bandmates Aaron Dessner (guitar/keyboards), Bryce Dessner (guitar), Scott Devendorf (bass) and Bryan Devendorf (drums) with the addition of two horns.
While there are no immediate plans for a record release this year, The National had no problem playing several new tracks which held a prominent, but subtle, synth-induced sound. Opening the set with a new track, “Sometimes I Don’t Think,” the crowd was illuminated by a colorful visual display complementing the new sounds of The National.
Throughout the set, Beringer engaged in what he called “inter-song banter” with the crowd and joked about a beetle he found onstage, which he later handed to a fan in the pit. Occasionally, he would check back in asking about the beetle, whom he named “Chris,” and who sadly did not live to see and hear the entire set. He later dedicated two songs in memory of Chris.
The band played several crowd favorites, including their hit “Bloodbuzz Ohio,” “This is the Last Time,” and “I Need My Girl.” Toward the end of the set, The National busted out their cover of Bonnie Dobson’s “Morning Dew,” which was featured on a compilation album in honor of The Grateful Dead. As the evening came to a close, the crowd was treated to a four-song encore which included guest appearances by St. Vincent and Adam Granduciel of The War on Drugs.
Supporting The National on tour is another Brooklyn-based band, The Lone Bellow. The indie-folk trio includes Zach Williams (lead vocals, guitar), Kanene Donehey Pipkin (mandolin, bass, vocals), and Brian Elmquist (guitar, vocals). Aaron Dessner of The National produced The Lone Bellow’s sophomore album which is due this October. Accompanying the soulful trio onstage was Jason Pipkin on keys, and Justin Glasgow on drums and occasionally two additional members playing the trumpet and sax. As the evening began, the crowd was entranced with eloquent harmonies of the trio as they serenaded the crowd with tracks “Fakes Roses” and “Take My Love.”
The National Setlist:
1. Sometimes I Don’t Think
2. Don’t Swallow the Cap
3. I Should Live in Salt
4. Bloodbuzz Ohio
5. Roman Candle
6. Afraid of Everyone
7. Squalor Victoria
8. I Need My Girl
9. This Is the Last Time
10. Find A Way
11. Sea of Love
13. The Lights
14. Pink Rabbits
16. Morning Dew (Bonnie Dobson cover)
18. Fake Empire
19. The Day I Die (w/Adam Granduciel)
20. Prom Song 13th Century (w/Annie Clark/St. Vincent)
21. Mr. November
22. Terrible Love (w/Adam Granduciel)
23. Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks