January 07, 2008

The National To Tour Australia

My band of the year, The National, head down under for the first time this very month where they will play eight shows in four cities beginning January 15th. The five mainstays of the Brooklyn based outfit, Matt Berninger, Aaron and Bryce Dessner, and Bryan and Scott Devendorf, will be joined by unofficial sixth member (and multi-instrumentalist) Padma Newsome. Padma is Australian, a native of the land where the toilets swirl counterclockwise and lots of other stuff (most of which are way better than the toilet thing), and I sent him a note asking about the upcoming tour, but first, here's what The National's Matt Berninger had to say when I asked how their critically acclaimed album, Boxer, was received on the road since it's release in May and over one hundred dates in support of it and if he'd seen any good Schwarzenegger movies lately:

We're now rested after a lot of touring. I spent New Years Eve in my apartment playing celebrity charades. Everything went very, very well for us last year. Boxer seems to have connected with people in a way we didn't expect. We knew it was a good record but we prepared ourselves to lose a lot of the fans that had found out about us because of Alligator. The screaming songs from Alligator got most of the attention and we were following that up with a record without a single scream. I think we hoped people wouldn't notice.

Suddenly there were so many more people coming to our shows than we'd ever experienced. For years we'd drive up to a club and cross our fingers that there would at least be ten or fifteen people there. This time around almost all the shows sold out in advance. We had a blast and met a lot a great people. It's cool to discover that most people around the world are very kind.

We're about to go to Australia for a couple weeks of shows which should be nice considering it's summer there. Padma is there now, probably spear-fishing or something. The rest of us are starting to write some new songs. We never write much on the road so we have a blank book in front of us. We don't really talk about what we want to do next or plan ahead. We just slowly start doing things and see where they take us. I'd really like to write a musical version of Predator, but the next record could be jazz metal for all I know at this point.

Thanks for that, Matt (and the dreamy show poster).

* * * * * * * * *

Here's Padma Newsome's response to a few questions I sent his way... thanks for this, Padma (Padma is also a key member of instrumental band Clogs, along with guitarist Bryce Dessner - don't miss the Clogs mp3s below):

Photo by Sergey Belyakov

How you feel about returning home with the band?
I feel good. It's about time they came over to my turf!

What kind of reception do you expect Australians will show? Is The National popular there?
There does seem to be some interest in Australia. This is first time touring, so it's never practical to imagine too much fore knowledge, but if we play well things usually go OK. I think the concerts are going to be a lot of fun.

And what things and places, if you have the time while touring, would you want to introduce your band mates to?
Into the sticks and out of the smoke.......I hope for a quiet country town in the heat, a moment down by the water somewhere, and lots of critters, since Americans are fascinated by critters. Usually, though, on tour, one only gets time for a quiet walk around the block.

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Check tour dates for the band here and here.
BUY The National's music here and Clogs here.

A special thanks to photographer Sergey Belyakov for the use of his images. Go here to see all his great shots from the band's Moscow concert.

And now some mp3 treats from The National and Clogs:

fake empire

Boxer Demos
santa clara
brainy (alternate take)
slow show
rest of years
tall saint

LIVE - Copenhagen December 3 2007
slow show
mistaken for strangers
secret meeting
baby we'll be fine
lit up
squalor victoria
all the wine
racing like a pro

LIVE - KEXP 2007
start a war
slow show
apartment story

apartment story
mistaken for strangers

LIVE - XFM Radio
you've done it again, virginia

The National (2001):
theory of the crows

Rare Tracks:
minor star of rome

halo chagrin (this song is from 98 or '99 and is one of the first things the band ever recorded to 4-track)

And here's a taste of how CLOGS sound:
river stick
pencil stick


  1. i cant open your links of the national.

  2. I think it is great that such good band as the National is touring Eastern Europe in its heyday. In my previous experience, you can see good bands in this area, only after their glory waned a little. Unfortunately, they did not play in my hometown (Belgrade, Serbia), but visited Zagred in Croatia, Istambul and Moscow.

    Luckily, I saw them in London. Amazing bend, amazing gig!!!

  3. Ë¡Jöãö! - Not sure why you're having a problem. Maybe the server was down, you should try again... the links are still working.