A Downpour at the Slow Show: The National live in Kansas City

The National’s music is notoriously depressing. Their music paints the picture of despair, heartbreak, and sorrow- so much so that “Sorrow” is the title of one of their songs. It’s the kind of music that can bring tears to your eyes. Luckily for me, and the attendees of their October 7th Kansas City show, it was pouring rain out, so nobody could tell I was crying.

Indie-rock vets from Cincinnati, the National, strode through Kansas City and brought their saddest record to date, Sleep Well Beast, with them. These downtrodden tracks found dancey life under a shroud of furiously beating down rain. Under the veil of wet, and cloaked by plastic ponchos, the crowd let loose in musical freedom of expression and euphoria.

The National’s show could best be described as the world ending all around us, so why not dance? Singer Matt Berninger often found himself striding into the crowd head first, standing on chairs, holding onto peoples’ heads for stability, and throwing beers around- just generally being a wild ball of chaos in a fiery rainstorm.

“Bloodbuzz, OH” and “Graceless” were racuous showstoppers, while “Dark Side of the Gym” and “I Need My Girl” brought all the soaked, plastic-wrapped lovers to a slow sway.

“Fake Empire” as a closer is always a staple for the National, and in these politically heated times, Berninger said “This wasn’t written for these times, but it might as well have been.”

For the encore, “Terrible Love” lit the fuse and “Mr. November” blew the place to smithereens. Amongst the rubble, we all rose our voices together in harmony to sing along to “Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks.”

A beautiful night full of the ups and downs, crazy emotional rampages and quiet embraces that make up a life. Maybe that’s why the National’s music is so sad— it’s relatable. It’s us, it’s life, it is what it is. At the end of the day, whether wet or dry, happy or sad, we can all say that the concert meant something to us.

 

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