- 06 Aug 19
The National have long established their affinity with Ireland; a relationship that seemingly has them headlining a festival or outdoor gig here at least once a year.
Their appearance was the first to be announced for All Together Now 2019 and their Sunday night closer certainly appears to draw the largest crowd. The band take to the stage at 11pm, donned, as always, in black suits that look like they shrunk in the wash half a dozen years ago. They're joined by a trio of female singers, one of which is long term collaborator Lisa Hannigan.
The first phase of the set sees the band listing off a series of tunes from their new album, I Am Easy To Find. As good as the new album is, a lot of these tracks fall wide of the mark in terms of getting the crowd going. The jagged guitars and pulsating drums of
'You Had Your Soul With You' are rousing, but songs like 'The Pull of You' and 'Hey Rosey' feel too slow and introspective to capture a rain-soaked audience.
The set picks up with the pairing of 'Don't Swallow The Cap' and 'Bloodbuzz Ohio', while 'So Far So Fast' and 'Where Is Her Head' both give the backing singers a chance to shine.
The second half of the set is far more geared to the hits, with 'Day I Die', 'The System Only Dreams In Total Darkness' and 'Pink Rabbits' coming in quick succession. The highlight of the night, however, comes with the double-whammy of 'Graceless' and 'Fake Empire', towards the end of their set proper.
The encore builds up gradually with 'Light Years', before Matt Berninger gets his chance to truly let loose with 'Mr November'. Everyone who's heard the song played before during a National encore before is seemingly prepared for his stage-diving, crowd-running antics. But it's still such a rush when it happens - the microphone wire hanging over 40 or 50 people's heads as the singer finds himself in the midst of audience screaming "I wont' fuck us over, I won't fuck us over", and we're all screaming it back to him
There's time enough for the anthemic 'Terrible Love' - a nice moment which allows for a joyous singalong - before the catharsis of 'Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks' sees us, and the festival's main event, out in style.