I've seen a pair of shows over the last couple weeks. The National at the Music Hall of Williamsburg (with Elvis Perkins opening) and a series of bands at a Paste Magazine show at the Living Room in the Lower East Side. For the National show I didn't take notes and got overwhelmingly drunk while for the Living Room show I did take notes and got overwhelmingly drunk. What follows is a couple thoughts on each show.
Apparently the Music Hall of Williamsburg is a new venue or at least under new ownership because it used to be called Galapagos. Very cool place, a bit expensive (like $5-7 a beer (remember this is Williamsburg, things should at least try to be cheaper)) but really a knockdown venue. Elvis Perkins put on an excellent set that did well to calm the clamouring for the National. He plays a folky Dylan-esque kind of music crossed with something of an Arcade Fire type sound. Also upon a bit of research I learned he is the son of photographer Berry Berenson, who was on one of the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center, and actor Anthony Perkins, who played Norman Bates in Psycho (and also has a sordid tale surrounding his death). This has (understandably) led to some melancholy tunes but there didn't seem to be any insincerity in his performance and my research seems to confirm his earnestness.
The National then came on and killed. I honestly adore their most recent record and couldn't recommend it more. The Onion review of it is perfect. The National is like a good steak dinner and that night the Music Hall of Williamsburg was Peter Lugar's. Seriously, buy The Boxer, listen to it 5 times, rinse and repeat, if you don't love it we can fistfight. I don't really remember too many specific details beyond their awsomeness cause I was drunk.
A British group called Air Traffic opened up the Living Room show. The first note I took on them was Naomi Campbell (sp?). This was due to the guitarists hair. It looked like Vidal Sassoon had just finished his masterpiece on the kids head. I don't understand how this works with bands. The first three guys are sitting around with their barbershop cuts and all of a sudden the fourth sashays in with his supermodel salon cut and he's allowed to remain in the band? I think more bands need to be held accountable for this lapse in judgement.
Anyway, they were okay, a little like Coldplay crossed with Ben Folds.
Tomorrow*, the other two bands and some thoughts on Living Room.
*Tomorrow meaning any day that might at some point be rightfully called "tomorrow".