I Dream of Vinyl

Music News, Reviews and Views


The National, Alvvays, The Greek Theatre, Los Angeles, 2nd Sept 2019

The Greek Theatre is one of my favorite venues. Built into the side of a canyon in Griffith Park, the outdoor amphitheater has 5780 seats and there is barely a bad one among them.
We were here to see my favorite band, The National, as they tour to support their new album “I Am Easy To Find” which was released in May. It is a very different National record: many of the songs prominently focus on female vocalists and several tracks feature the Brooklyn Youth Chorus. The album is accompaniment (not a soundtrack) to a 24 minute short film of the same name directed by Mike Mills. He was also involved in the making of the record.
Support was provided by Canadian indie band, Alvvays. I had seen them twice before at Coachella and their second album “Antisocialites” was one of my favorite records of 2017. With a 50 minute set that heavily featured the songs from that album, their guitar-based indie pop and vocals of Molly Rankin was a great warm-up for the main act. Highlights for me were “Plimsole Punks”, “In Undertow” and “Archie, Marry Me”

The National took the stage at 8:45pm and were joined by Kate Stables (of This Is The Kit) and Hannah Georgas, as well as multi-instrumentalists Ben Lanz, Kyle Resnick and James McAlister. Launching into long-time live favorite “Rylan”, the band started with four songs from the new album. It was an interesting change to previous National concerts, with Matt not necessarily the main focus at the centre of the stage, but I felt the songs came over really well.
The next two hours were a mix of new and old; a total of 11 songs from the new album and 15 from the previous albums. Unusually there were only 1 each from “Boxer” and “Alligator”; “Trouble Will Find Me” (5) and “High Violet” providing the majority of the older tracks. Any time they play “Pink Rabbits” I’m happy!

Matt prowled the stage, drank multiple drinks and took regular trips into the crowd to meet his adoring fans. Special shout-out to the hardest working person in music – Matt’s microphone tech who was constantly on stage picking up microphone stands or feeding cable out into the audience with the look of a concerned parent.
The five song encore finished with an unplugged “Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks” with Matt conducting the crowd and we all went home happy after another great night at the Greek.

Rylan, Quiet Light, The Pull of You, Hey Rosey, Don’t Swallow The Cap, Bloodbuzz Ohio, Guilty Party, Oblivions, So Far So Fast, Where Is Her Head, I Need My Girl, This Is The Last Time, Day I Die, The System Only Dreams In Total Darkness, Pink Rabbits, England, Light Years, You Had Your Soul With You, I Am Easy To Find, Graceless, Fake Empire
Encore: Not In Kansas, Mr. November, Terrible Love, About Today, Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks