sat 11/07/2020

The National, Brixton Academy | reviews, news & interviews

The National, Brixton Academy

The National, Brixton Academy

Lead singer is out of sorts in a show that smoulders but never catches fire

It just didn't happen: The NationalKeith Klenowski

I spent a long time waiting for this gig to take off, but eventually realised that it wasn’t going to happen. To begin with I thought the band were just pacing themselves, playing a slow-burning set that would eventually explode into life, opening with the modest thrum of “The Runaway”, and following it with the similarly restrained “Anyone’s Ghost” and “Mistaken for Strangers”. But in the end, although The National moved up through the gears and finished the show with a big warm finale, still, it all seemed a bit flat.

As the show progressed, the tension between band members became palpable

Share this article


I was at the gig last night, and I'm afraid I have to disagree with the review. Yes, Berninger did go walkabout between songs, but this didn't detract from a fantastic performance, and added to the banter with his bandmates. They made the Academy feel like a very small and intimate venue, and I loved every minute of it!

There was no inter-band bickering, they ALWAYS banter with each other like that! Even Bryce Dessner pointed out that they were joking and they don't really hate each other. If anything, the flat atmosphere was the fault of the crowd. I've never seen such a sea of blank faces during songs like Abel and Mr November.

You have no idea what you're talking about reviewer. Which gig were you at? This was the best gig I've seen this year, by a long way. Quite brilliant.

Which gig were you at??? Brilliant from start to finish.

I was at this gig and I absolutely agree with all the comments so far. Brilliant, loved every minute of it, and everyone around me seemed to be having a great time too!

Was the reviewer at the some concert as the rest of us? This was without doubt one of the best performances I have seen in some time (certainly this year). Tension between bandmates? Really? I was at the very front and I didn't notice any of this. I mean, they were joking with each other but as another commentator quite rightly pointed out, they always do. All in all it was a fantastic gig and a nice crowd.

wtf were you watching?

Got to agree with the rest of the comments left here - this was the best gig i've been to in a long time, i don't know what the reviewer is on about. The reviewer has also made way too much of the "tension" between bandmates, which was never anything more than good-natured banter, and certainly didn't lower the standard of performance, which was of the very highest quality.

what was the name of the opening act???

clearly the reveiwer is slightly bonkers (no offence) and a wee bit sensitive, the banter between the band added to the intimate feeling and the whole show was electric. Berninger did seem alittle distracted with something in the wings but that settled down after first couple of songs. I haven't seen so many smiling faces after leaving a gig in a long time

I didn't even have to go to the show to agree with the reviewer. The show sounds the exact same as The National show in Toronto two years ago. I've been to hundreds of concerts and that one almost put me to sleep!

Just to back up the comments of others here i saw these guys at the Acadamy Manchester. It was a privilege to see such talent perform again. I saw them at Latitude and decided to pay a fortune on ebay tickets for the MCR do. One of the best nights ever, a week later in the midst of the winter freeze my other wise cold heart is warm and still racing.

Mr Reviewer, this is how your review should have sounded:

I totally agree with your review. I was at the 29 November concert (which is the one i assume you're reviewing, this review being dated the 30th) and my experience was the same as yours. It sounds as though we were just unlucky: reviews for the later nights seem much more positive. Having said that, as you yourself say, it wasn't an awful gig, just not the amazing night we might have hoped for.

I experienced a very different gig that night. Awesome. This pretty much reflects the night

Clearly it doesn't for everyone. Some of you people are so annoying, thinking that the truth lies elsewhere because those reviews agree with YOU.

Add comment


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters