The National - Apollo, Manchester - Gigs - Reviews - Soundblab

The National - Apollo, Manchester

by Dan Clay Rating:7 Release Date:2012-09-16

On a damp day in murky Manchester, it doesn't take long for Brooklyn's The National to throw off the gloom with another inspired live performance, much to the relief of the beer-loving, welcoming throng. Playing no less than 10 tracks from their recent album Trouble Will Find Me, Matt Berninger and co manage to inject new life into songs which, in studio format, lacked the depth and intensity of those on previous offering High Violet.

So while 'I Should Live in Salt' and bass-thumping opener 'Don't Swallow the Cap' benefit from a fresh airing, the quiet 'Humiliation' expoldes into life as it lights up the encore. Elsewhere, the more stripped 'Slipped' and melancholy 'Pink Rabbits' allow the brass to shine through, often lost on other tracks, and the lack of Kyle's trumpet (he's having a baby apparantly) don't stop the majestic 'Fake Empire' or the singalong highlight 'Conversation 16' from crowning a near flawless night.

Yes, the sound might have lost some elements of the band's melodic rhythms - a harmonica played at one point really isn't worth the airing or air - and an over-reliance on bass and Bryan Devendorf's inventive drumming means the pounding sound and shouty vocals don't always show off the band's songs as you'd like, but despite the trouble, some stunning music finds me, and others, amid the sog and stage fog.

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