Foto: Sadan Ekdemir

When attending a concert by a band such as The National, the pleasure the prodigal and elegant voice of Mark Berninger will give us is almost taken for granted. We know and expect that the darkness and melancholic sound of the lyrics and guitars that accompany it will transport us to a very special place. Indeed this is exactly what happened last night at Sentrum Scene. But, beyond giving a good concert, the emotion, simplicity, and sense of humor unfolded by the band on stage as the intensity grew, mixed with the precise moments of subtle sadness, increased the connection with the audience and reminded us once again why The National is one of the best American bands of recent years.

After a leisurely beginning with Ryan, the band soon transported us to the melancholic Nobody Else Will Be There, and from there we were given a setlist that more than anything leaned towards the polished and intricate sound of their latest albums Sleep Well Beast and Boxer. The audience was soon dancing to the beats and orchestral bases of songs like The System Only Dreams In Total Darkness and Guilty Party. Squalor Victoria, followed by the rhythmic ferment sound of Turtleneck, allowed Mark to unfold a bit of madness, throwing the ice in his glass as well as his drumsticks onto the crowd. The emotion at times gave way to hoarse sounds, especially in the choruses, animated by the palms of the audience.

The prevailing sounds of Sleep Well Beast and Boxer were interspersed with High Violet's songs like Afraid of Everyone and Terrible Love, and Mr. November from Alligator and I Need My Girl from Trouble Will Find Me. In the moment when the deepness and the intensity reached a certain point, Mark - as per usual - got off the stage and began to walk among the audience while Racing Like a Pro continued to fill the room. By the end, when it seemed that nothing could take the gig any higher, we were treated to a splendid cover of the Ramones' The KKK Took My Baby Away.

The National has once again delighted us with a neat, honest and exciting concert and despite the regrets of some who begged for About Today, I have no doubts that the nearly two hours of melancholy left everybody more than satisfied. It seems evident that despite their more than 15 years on stage, The National are still going strong and their presence can still surprise us by deluging every moment and every song with a significance and depth sometimes difficult to find in the latest indie-rock scene.

Text: Gabriela Paz Sanzana Pavez