The National

ACL Live Shots

ACL Live Shots
Photo by Gary Miller

The National

Zilker Park, Oct. 10

Festival magic can strike at any time, but sunset sets take the cake at Zilker Park. The Brooklyn-based National is led by scruffy, suit-wearing Matt Berninger, a singer whose stage presence and songs make him the bastard son of Iggy Pop and Leonard Cohen. The outfit tipped its hand early in its fan-friendly mix, starting off with the low-key "Anybody's Ghost" off the new High Violet. As darkness neared, "Bloodbuzz Ohio" ("I was carried to Ohio in a swarm of bees") quieted the chatterboxes in the crowd. Arrangements were bolstered by an embarrassingly lush array of instrumentation for an indie-rock bill, including brass and strings (and a lovely walk-on from Arcade Fire collaborator Owen Pallett, who's been opening solo for the band on tour). Berninger couldn't resist gentle jabs at older acts on-site: He offered $1,000 to anyone willing to burst an enormous beach ball bouncing in front of the stage, then joked that Wayne Coyne might be inside. Was his dedication of the set's last song (before one of the weekend's very few impromptu encores) to the Eagles serious? Highlights from this imperial performance also included "Squalor Victoria," "England," and the sweeping new "Terrible Love."

READ MORE
More The National
Phases & Stages
The National
Trouble Will Find Me (Record Review)

Doug Freeman, July 5, 2013

Phases & Stages
The National
High Violet (Record Review)

Doug Freeman, July 2, 2010

More Music Reviews
Texas Platters
The Echocentrics
Echo Hotel (Record Review)

Thomas Fawcett, June 24, 2016

Texas Platters
Black Pistol Fire
Don't Wake the Riot (Record Review)

Alejandra Ramirez, June 24, 2016

More by Dan Oko
Live Shots
Café Tacuba, Molotov, Bajofondo, Jovanotti
SXSW showcase reviews

March 15, 2013

SXSW Thursday Showcases
SXSW Thursday Showcases

March 15, 2013

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

The National

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
AC Daily, Events and Promotions, Luvdoc Answers

Breaking news, recommended events, and more

Official Chronicle events, promotions, and giveaways

All questions answered (satisfaction not guaranteed)