The National @ Headliners (with Talkdemonic & Shapes and Sizes)

As you might imagine, the show was spot on to a degree that makes you reevaluate every other thing you’ve ever heard.

For a review, picures & more videos

Talkdemonic was a little 2 piece comprised of Kevin O’Conner & Lisa Molinaro, using a viola, drums, distortion & what I believe to have been Apple Garageband. It’s a little unsettling when you look up & hear music, but nobody playing it as happened when they were playing from the computer, but getting beyond that the band was really inventive and experimental and I can only imagine that Pere Ubu must have been an influence somewhere along the way. Lisa on viola was an amazing experience…very raw and original.

Shapes and Sizes was just another very typical indie pop band cramming 4 people in about 20 sqr feet, splitting vocals between their front two (naturally one guy, one girl), included some necessary hand-clapping, and was all and all very bouncy. They were ok, but bring nothing special to the genre. They did close the show really well with a couple of really fun songs, and arty songs “Island’s Gone Bad” and “Alone/Alive,” but on the whole they just seemed like a group of college kids wanting to be a band, but not having any to say.

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Then The National came on. Very nonchalant, and looking as though he’d just left the office to get to the show on time, Matt Berninger picked up the mic, and entranced the crowd. The brothers and drummer put on a very solid performance, but Berninger and Padma Newsome (of sister band Clogs) stole the show. Newsome wasn’t afraid to take some of the show sometimes and he was incredibly energetic on the viola, keyboards and whatever else he could get his hands on to play. Berninger had a wonderful stage presence really, but at the same time looked a little insecure by putting his hand under his other arm and shielding others off.

Crowds can make or break shows sometimes, and Headliners was a great one. Once the suggestions started flying a kid just shouted out “play your own set” which the band seemed to appreciate. In fact they seemed to appreciate the crowd on a number of ocassions as they continually thanked us for being a good crowd. Later, the suggestion came to play “Karen” but Berninger just came out and said “We’re not going to play Karen” and followed that up with “but oddly enough this next song is about her” lowly and under his breath.

Their was a fair amount of interaction with the crowd. Berninger told another story about the last time The National played Louisville, saying it was at the Rudyard Kipling and the crowd was tiny and eating dinner as they were playing. He said there was a guy in the front having a plate of mashed potatoes and just said it was off-putting, but apologized for not having brough mashed potatoes.

One of the brothers later said when asked recently what his favorite city was, he’d responded Louisville, citing Bourbon as the reason, which is good enough for us. Just so long as he has reasons to keep coming back.

The guys are playing tonight in (their originating hometown) Cincinnati at 20th Century Theater. Tickets are $16 & it’s not yet sold out. Get your tickets Here


  • Start a war
  • Mistaken for Strangers
  • Secret Meeting
  • Brainy
  • Slow Show
  • Baby, We’ll be Fine
  • Racing Like a Pro
  • Squalor Victoria
  • The Geese of Beverly Road
  • Apartment Story
  • Wasp Nest
  • Lit Up
  • Daughters of the Soho Rights
  • Ada
  • Fake Empires
  • Mr. November
  • Karen
  • Abel

(pictures & video compliments of my beautiful girlfriend Genny Carnero.)

Permanent link to this article: http://backseatsandbar.com/2007/06/14/the-national-headliners/

1 comment

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  1. Jessica

    I was looking for footage of their show at Headliner’s and stumbled across this. The funny part is in the “Secret Meeting” clip my head and my boyfriend’s hair are blocking the view. My apologies! It was indeed a great show! This blog is great I didn’t know they were going to be on NPR! Thanks.

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