Closing in on their 20th year as a band, the National are a well oiled machine, operating at their peak, both in their craft and its presentation. Now on the back-end of touring in support of 2017’s Grammy winning Sleep Well Beast, the National machine roll into town for a pair of up-close general admission shows at the Palladium. It’s a treat to see them in the stripped down, in the club setting, no massive visual production, a nice contrast from the big Hollywood Bowl stage, which they headlined last Fall. As such, the Friday evening show had a fittingly looser, raucous, all around fun vibe.
While the 5-piece band are reliably solid and it can be easy to take the musicians for granite as strong players (Aaron Dessner gets his moment to step forward on the big guitar solo on Beast standout “The System on Dreams in Darkness”; he and brother Bryce raise axes and jab the air in rockstar poses a couple of times) but it’s singer Matt Berninger that’s the obvious focal point of the National live show. And he’s in good form tonight.
The National | americanmary.com
The Greek Theatre | lagreektheatre.com