The National - Academy 1 - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

The National - Academy 1

by Dan Clay Rating: Release Date:

"We expected something, something better than before. We expected something more," Matt Berninger sings as "Start a War" opens the band's encore; this coming even after the quiet frontman admits to not knowing the tune very well. Never has a lyric summed up more accurately an audience's expectation upon entering the Academy; rarely will it be bettered.

From the off, the Brooklyn band's sound hits the right note. Opener '

' he jumps from the stage and runs through the crowd which breaks like waves in appreciative adoration - this really is audience participation at a newer level.

That doesn't mean that the quieter moments aren't just as stunning. A mid-set combination of 'Sorrow' and '

' is enhanced by losing the over-production which blighted the album version as it builds emphatically towards epic.

Closing the set pre-encore with crowd-favourite and sure contender for song of the decade 'Fake Empire', Berninger and co show exactly what they've got - an entire empire of song writing and showmanship skills at their disposal with nothing fake behind it at all. However, it's the final track, 'VanderLyle', which showcases something completely new. Hushing the audience as the band converge centre stage a truly acoustic arrangement emerges. No mics, just hundreds of voices and their hearts singing out.

The National have truly made England their nation.

Setlist - See video from the gig here

Mistaken For Strangers

Anyone's Ghost

Slow Show

Squalor Victoria

Afraid of Everyone

Bloodbuzz Ohio

Lit Up

Conversation 16

Wake Up Your Saints

Apartment Story



Green Gloves


Fake Empire

Start a War


Mr November

Terrible Love

Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks

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