The National – Boxer (Beggars Banquet) 2007

For a blog that seems to concentrate on the tuneless and obscure many would find it suprising that I’m posting on this. Boxer was in a whole bunch of critics best of lists for 2007. I think that there is some justificatioin for that.

I first heard of this band through my mate Andrew and was somewhat skeptical when he raved about how good they were. Favourite band blah blah blah. Anyway I get a call from Andrew a couple of months ago, and he and his wife Sussanah have bought tickets and are flying 1500 km’s to see this band. Did I want to go with them? Why the fuck not I thought. Since the birth of my son I could count the number of times I’d been out at night on two fingers.

I went with no expectations. The opening band was some horrible local act that sounded remarkably like Drop Nineteens (that band were OK in 1993 but seriously it’s 2007 people). So The National start and fuck me if it isn’t one of the best live shows I’ve seen in some time. Each track they played ended with this wall of transcendent white noise which made me all funny. The band were tight and the singer has one of those voices which is equal parts bourbon, cough syrup and honey (think Tindersticks). They also had two little hobbit guitarists which was fun. But seriously his voice is something very special indeed and fuck me if he doesn’t write some of the best bitter love songs since David Gedge and the Wedding Present. Their stuff is all dark and evocative but they really know how to write a tune. And sometimes I really need to hear a tune. Not often but sometimes. Cheers Andrew for the ticket and yes I did buy their fucking album. It was like $12.00 on Fishpond but i would have paid more, honest. Sure there is a little it of crap on Boxer but when they get it right (see below) they fucking nail it.

Mistaken for Strangers

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