Saturday, October 07, 2017

The National @ Forest Hills Tennis Stadium

The National; Daughter
@ Forest Hills Tennis Stadium
Forest Hills, NY - October 6, 2017

The National have come to play. While some of their peers (much beloved) are already nostalgic for themselves in keeping with their rock nerddom, these fellas who used to be a "Brooklyn band" but are now a project of globe-spanning artists continue to look ahead. This is a recurrent theme but not without healthy doses of looking back. Their seventh album, Sleep Well Beast, is almost completely detached from that cringe-inducing genre label "chamber pop" thrust on the band (not totally incorrectly, far from it) when they reared their heads with Alligator and Boxer.

In fact, it may be too far removed. The new record features enough tracks with beeps and boops that one wonders if the Devendorfs were even around for some of it and hell maybe even one of the two Dessners. But no matter, come live time the five are still in cahoots along with their usual accompaniment of friends. And though they continue to look forward with their sound, they are also maybe for the first time a ROCK BAND, which is to say looking back to how they got to play music in the first place. The swagger, the showmanship, the recognition that they are a known commodity and not a secret hip thing playing a flower shop on Cortelyou Road. New material "Day I Die", "The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness" and "Guilty Party" are HITS in a Universe in which this kind of music would still be a hit. It could even turn out to be the case in this Universe.

They even do covers now. For this stop they too felt the need to acknowledge the Ramones (as others who play this box have done before). In keeping with the style of the time, they whipped out "The KKK Took My Baby Away".

And this was the other crossroads: the context for this half-quietly political band took them back and forth. "Fake Empire" has a different meaning now than it did 10 years ago. Ditto for "Mr. November". Berninger even found a way to recharacterize "Bloodbuzz, Ohio", wisely assuming a large chunk of the massive crowd were fellow Ohio ex-pats, urging them to go back and reclaim their homes from the hostage situation currently unfolding in this tattered Republic.

And while some of the new sounds and the crowd chatter and the demographics all scream "YACHT ROCK DAD ROCK" much sooner rather than later, if there is a band who is going to work it well and still be their own thing, it's the National.

Serious, shy but game English (with a twist of Swiss) outfit Daughter were a fine compliment to the headliners, mixing that...dare I say it...chamber pop (kind of) with dashes of pop-rock when applied.

Thursday, October 05, 2017

Summer 2017

Superchunk - Up Against the Wall
Kevin Morby - 1 2 3 4
Teksti-TV 666 - Silmät kiinni ja kädet ristiin
Future Islands - Ran
Now, Now - SGL
Jamie Wyatt - Wishing Well
Waxahatchee - Never Been Wrong
Lo Tom - Overboard
Shout Out Louds - Oh Oh
Dan Croll - Bad Boy
Sam Coffey and the Iron Lungs - Tough
Chemtrails - Deranged
Sweet Spirit - Pamela
Sheer Mag - Meet Me in the Street
Daddy Issues - Locked Out
Chuck Prophet - Bobby Fuller Died For Your Sins
Boneyard - Fink
Surfer Blood -  Matter of Time
Low Cut Connie - Dirty Water
The Paper Kites - Electric Indigo
Trouble - Snake Eyes
Wolf Parade - Valley Boy
Jenny Johnson - Solar Eclipse
Coco Hames - I Don't Wanna Go
Les Big Byrd - Two Man Gang
Hoops - Rules
Los Colognes - Flying Apart
Old 97's - Good with God
Cody ChestnuTT - Have You Heard from the Lord Today? (feat. Raphael Saadiq)
White Reaper - Judy French
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit - Hope the High Ground
Bash & Pop - Not This Time
The Buttertones - Matador
Spiral Stairs - Trams (Stole My Love)
Father John Misty - Total Entertainment Forever
Joey Dosik - Game Winner
Buyepongo - Vamos a Gonzar
Downtown Boys - Lips that Bite
Jolie Holland and Samantha Parton - Wildflower Blues
Rodney Crowell - It Ain't Over Yet
Jesse Malin - Meet Me at the End of the World
Lee Ronaldo - New Trim - Old Fashioned Kiss

Father John Misty - Pure Comedy