A pale shadow of concert season’s former greatness

I attended The National‘s Malkin Bowl show on Thursday and it was a pretty good billing.

I honestly can’t remember if I’d ever seen the Walkmen before — I think I saw them open or maybe in a festival but maybe I’m just remember wrong?! I’d have to go through my boxes of ticket stubs and various social media postings to confirm but regardless I was glad for a chance to see them (again?). 2004’s Bows + Arrows was one of my favourite albums from that year and I loved ‘The Rat’ and ‘Little House of Savages’, which made it on my PDP1 playlist for track 8 — generally the slot of my favourite track for a mix. I either missed those tracks (we were grabbing a quick pint Stanley’s Bar & Grill) or they were playing more of their later items. It was a fairly mellow playing but pretty strong for all of that.

Up next were The National, I band that I quite enjoy but don’t I’ve ever felt as visceral as about other loves. In fact, maybe I’m just a hanger on with them. I have their seminal Boxer but don’t have any other albums and don’t think I gave it a lot of plays until 3 people put them on their PDP9 mixes. While they did show up earlier in PDP6 and PDP7, for some reason it just didn’t click. The outdoor venue with the threat of rain (but never actually doing so) was a great stage for the band’s style, with more than a hint of melancholy and dollop of glum in their music. Matt Berninger had a pretty good stage presence and I always love when rock bands have live brass on stage, in this case a trombone and a trumpet. They finished the set with ‘Fake Empire’, as the Vancouver Sun notes, a clear crowd favourite — though the Canadian paper says, “favorite”.

I don’t have any other tickets to see anything coming up — haven’t even recently checked out Pollstar lately to see if there’s anything upcoming I want to see. With Admiral Radley back in July, it’s been a pretty lean year for live music. I really should make an effort to get out an see some more live shows.


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