Friday, May 14, 2010

The National, sort of @High Violet Annex, May 13th

In conjunction with the release of their latest album, The National has set up a 5 day long pop-up store called the High Violet Annex right next to Other Music. For the past few nights, some interesting friends of the band have shown up to DJ or perform, so this afternoon I decided to take a break from feeling bogged down with this head cold, and checked out the Annex since it was free and I don't have to work tomorrow.

After picking up the new album at Other Music (I fell for their marketing ploy!), I got into line relatively easily around 5:30 or so. Just after 6 we were allowed into the tiny space, and lo and behold, I got some prime real estate, front center, and was even able to rest on some equipment cases. For the next 3 hours we were treated to some brief but excellent sets by the psychedelic country-tinged Phosphorescent, the lovely Sharon Van Etten, and the dreamy Antlers, and as an added treat, some music by The National, sort of. Well, the crowd was a-buzz with excitement, as equipment labeled with the band's name appeared on stage, and then one Devendorf, then the other, and then one Dessner, and then the other, climbed on stage to set it up, but alas, no Matt Berninger tonight.

(More words and pics, and a video after the jump.)
Instead, the Devendorfs as well as another dude on trumpet and someone on guitar first played some music to accompany an abstract short film. Then, just the Dessner twins -- Aaron and Bryce -- appeared with their guitars along with would-be filmmaker Sufjan Stevens himself, who got on stage to introduce his short film made of swirly, screensaver-y stills of sci-fi movies he watched as a kid. I really dug this portion of the evening, as it highly reminded me of the time I had the good fortune to see Yo La Tengo at Prospect Park playing a live soundtrack to some documentary film, though perhaps even closer this time.

Here's a partial clip of the Sufjan short "Destroy Those Irritating Memories":

So, not a true National performance per se, but still a great evening for music. And, Sufjan did brush up against me both as he climbed onto and came down from the stage. I am now tempted to check out the remaining nights, even if I have to drag Bestest Boy along...

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