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recommended boston area events

tuesday, december 4th

kelly hogan

@ johnny d's

thursday, december 6th

conor oberst

@ converse hall, tremont st.

thursday, december 6th

jason isbell &

the 400 unit

@ the sinclair

friday, december 7th

the weisstronauts 14th

annual holiday jubilee

with guests tsunami of sound

preacher jack, & the derangers

@ the midway cafe, jp

friday, december 7th


moving mountains


@ the sinclair

saturday, december 8th

patrick watson

@ the sinclair

saturday, december 8th

the faint perform

"danse macabre"


icky blossoms

@ the paradise

sunday, december 9th

band of horses

@ house of blues

sunday, december 9th



@ the paradise

wednesday, december 12th

concrete blonde

jim bianco

@ the sinclair

thursday, december 13th

annual boston christmas cavalcade

benefit for the homeless

featuring tons of artists

(see fb event for details)

@ johnny d's

thursday, december 13th

nada surf

eternal summers

@ the paradise

thursday, december 13th

mates of state

in the valley below

@ brighton music hall

friday, december 14th

forgetters (blake from

jawbreaker's band)

& more tba

@ democracy center, harvard square

sunday, december 30th

sufjan stevens

sheila saputo

@ the royale

monday, december 31st

my morning jacket

@ agganis arena

monday, december 31st

deer tick

two gallants

@ the sinclair

monday, january 7th


@ the paradise

tuesday, january 8th


@ great scott

saturday, january 19th

mission of burma

@ the sinclair

sunday, january 20th

camper van beethoven


@ the middle east down

sunday, january 20th


@ the orpheum

sunday, january 20th

ra ra riot

@ the paradise

sunday, january 27th


@ great scott

tuesday, january 29th

kathleen edwards

sera cahoone

@ brighton music hall

wednesday, february 13th

yo la tengo

@ the paradise

saturday, march 2nd

unknown mortal orchestra

@ brighton music hall

tuesday, march 12th

tame impala

@ house of blues

thursday, march 14th

jukebox the ghost

matt pond pa

lighthouse and the whaler

@ brighton music hall

tuesday, march 26th

yo la tengo

@ the paradise

wednesday & thursday

april 3rd & 4th

they might be giants

@ the paradise

visit tourfilter for more shows

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Mp3s: The National live in Mansfield, MA

In interviews since their opening slot on REM's North American tour over the summer, the National have unsurprisingly had nothing but good things to say about their treatment by the headliners, and having spotted Mike Mills at stage left, enthusiastically bobbing his head to the band's late-evening set at the Great ComTweetWoods Center in June, it looks like they weren't just hosts, but real fans. And what a treat it must have been to see Matt Berninger & co. night after night. This was my third time seeing them in four years, and it was in sun-showered contrast to the previous small-club shows (TT the Bears in 2005 and Paddy O's last fall) -- even though many seats remained empty while REM fans streamed in, it was still a larger crowd in total than both of those previous area shows combined. You could spot us punctual National fans easily, and so could the band, dedicating one of the late-set songs to an enthusiastic girl near the front.

While the large venue promised the opposite of intimacy, my choice seat, the setting sun, and the band's flawless performances of songs I hold dear ended up impressing me even more than I'd expect. I didn't assume their set would measure up to those other sweaty, shoulder-to-shoulder shows I'd seen, but it did. They'd made efforts to mix things up for the tour, both obvious (adding two horns and a bassoon player) and subtle (new drum hits during the "Mistaken for Strangers" intro), and didn't let the cavernous environs dull their energy -- Violinist/keyboardist Padme Newsome was absolutely on fire, the build-up of "Brainy" was more frenetic than ever, and Berninger powerfully bellowed "I WON'T FUCK US OVER!" through the massive sound system during "Mr. November". I especially appreciated the set selection, which included moodier pieces that lured the audience in, bringing up the energy occasionally, then easing us back with "Fake Empire" just before pummeling us on the way out. Glorious.

Here's my recording of their set, with some noteworthy links below...

Some National links...
  • Info: Their official site, MySpace page, Wikipedia entry, and their Beggars label page.

  • Additional Audio: Sadly the band has removed the three older Mp3s they had shared at their own site, and Beggars doesn't have any available either, but you can still stream songs at MySpace, of course. The 2007 DC show that NPR shared is also still available to stream here.

  • Video: There's a YouTube clip of the band performing what may be their first new post-Boxer song, "A Thousand Black Cities", in Copenhagen last month. Links to all of their "proper" vids can be found here, as well as through a National YouTube search.

  • Photos: My Flickr-hosted shots are here, or have a look through a full National Flickr tag search.

  • Hope: An edited, instrumental version of "Fake Empire" has been used in a new Barack Obama campaign ad, which you can watch while sporting your Obama-fundraising "Mr. November" t-shirt.

  • Upcoming live dates: The band is taking it (relatively) easy this fall after a road-heavy summer, with just a handful of scattered shows, including two west coast stops later this month, an NY show in October, and a trio of dates in Brazil before they hit the November 8th Fun Fun Fun Fest in Austin. And here's hoping that fest is extra fun-fun-fun because Obama wins on November 4th. Celebration over commiseration.

  • Easily stream to any and all 'Nac-hosted Mp3s at the Hype Machine.

  • the fine print... If anyone has an issue with these Mp3s being made available, just let me know (my contact info in the 'nac faq). Live sets recorded with a Sony ECM-719 mic and a Sony MZ-RH10 minidisc, converted to .wav and then edited to 192kbps Mp3s. Files are made available for a limited time, and are not reposted once removed.


    featured mp3 download
    neil halstead
    live in cambridge, ma
    on november 14th, 2008
    previously: joy formidable - boston 2011

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