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The National

July 31, 2016

Red Rocks, Denver, CO


As being primarily a fan of Real Estate, the opening band, and having heard good things about The National, I was excited for this show. Also, it’s a show at Red Rocks so it can’t be that bad, right?? Wrong. I’d heard of The National and read about them being compared to Joy Division, Wilco, and Interpol. They’ve been described as this dark, post-punk revival sort of band. Well, all those bands are great so they’re be good by association?? No, I was wrong again.

First, let me say, Real Estate was solid. I don’t want to lump them into The National. Real Estate doesn’t have the most exciting sound to be seen live. They are this coastal jangly sounding dream pop band, but I really enjoy them under the right circumstances. They sounded solid at Red Rocks and were enjoyable for a relaxed summer night. My friend and I were also able to get away with stealing some decent middle stage seats for their set. Outside of seeing the girl in front of me playing Pokémon fucking Go during their set and wanting to throw her phone at the Red Rocks I had a good time. In fact, I wish they had just played the whole night.

As mentioned, not super familiar with The National, but my friend has mentioned them, and sure why not. They took the cake for the worst Red Rocks Headliner I’ve ever seen. This spot was previously held by Silversun Pickups (who I do like but suck live). I must say, they made even SSP look exciting. The National’s songs were boring, their lead singer was overly introspective and self-absorbed, and their light show even sucked. People around us seemed generally bored and a lot were sitting down twiddling their thumbs. We stayed through roughly half the set, got a closer spot to try one more song, and halfway through some sappy piano bullshit song decided to leave. I am not an overly pretentious concert goer who wants to just hate on bands and act like I don’t enjoy them at all. Most bands and definitely most headliners I see live I enjoy to some degree. I was into like half of one of their songs.

Looking back, I’m happy I went just because of how bad they were, honestly. It was the sort of show I’ll be able to have a laugh with my friend at for years.

Article By: Chris Beliveau

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