Tour Poster

The National, Local Natives, and Wye Oak (Concert at The Neptune Theatre, Seattle. December 1, 2001) 

Wye Oak 

Wye Oak is an indie folk band, comprised of only two members. Andy Stack plays drums, keyboards, and sings backup vocals, while Jenn Wasner sings lead vocals and plays guitar. Formed in 2006 in Maryland, the band has already found wide acclaim and been featured in the television show The Walking Dead.

Photo by Renee Barrera

When a drummer and a vocalist/guitarist walk on stage you rarely expect something extraordinary. However, that word summarizes Wye Oak nicely.

For starters, Andy Stack played the drums and the keyboard simultaneously. At first, his keyboard playing was simple bass lines, but soon it evolved into complex synth parts layered over the bass lines. Jenn Wasner’s vocals were sultry and beautiful, making Wye Oak an opener for which it is worth arriving early.

While I wasn’t really closely following Wye Oak before the concert, I surely am now. In fact, I bought their newest album, Civilian as a result of this show.

Local Natives 

Photo by Renee Barrera

Formerly known as Cavil at Rest, this indie rock band surfaced in 2010 on the Billboard 200 as #3 in the New Artist Chart. The band is comprised of Taylor Rice (guitar/vocals/bass), Kelcey Ayer (vocals/keyboards/percussion/guitar), Ryan Hahn (guitar/keyboards/mandolin / vocals), and Matt Frazier (drums).The band is currently working on their second full-length album.

To begin, I felt that there was something missing from the most recent Local Natives album, Gorilla Manor. With a more intricate instrumental parts, their previous album, under the band name Cavil at Rest provided something more than Gorilla Manor. It seems like on this newest album, Local Natives spent time developing technique instrumentally and forgot to consider what sonic register each instrument should play in, resulting in some muddy instrumentals. This observation became audible during the live performance, but it didn’t detract from the amazing show they gave the crowd.

Live, the Local Natives’ vocals were absolutely amazing. Perhaps my favorite part occurred when they covered the Talking Heads’ song “Warning Sign”. With thickly blended vocals and afropop drumbeats, the Local Native provided well done set, almost the best of the night.

The National 

Photo by Renee Barrera

The National is an indie rock band originally formed in Ohio, and currently based in Brooklyn. It’s comprised of two sets of brothers, and the baritone singer, Matt Berninger. Their most recent album, High Violet, was released in 2010 and has charted at number three on the Billboard 200, and the album has gone gold in Ireland, Denmark, Belgium, and the UK.

Honestly, I think humor is what made this concert work. The National is one of my favorite bands, and the lead vocals sounded identical to most recent album, High Violet. When, in a humorous turn of events vocalist Matt Berninger forgot the lyrics to the band’s opening song, he responded by saying,

“Yes, this is our song, and we will continue this concert by forgetting lyrics to songs we don’t know and you’ve never heard of.”

Throughout the concert, Berninger’s sacrasm and amazing wit between tunes brought The National’s set together with immense brilliance. True to touring on a hit record, The National played all of their hits from their latest album, save the song “Lemonworld” (one of my personal favorites).

They concluded the concert by singing Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks acoustically with the entire audience singing the lyrics, the theater resounded in a chorus of

“Vanderlyle, crybaby, cry / Oh, the waters are rising, Still no surprising you / Vanderlyle, crybaby, cry, / Man, it’s all been forgiving, swans are a swimming/ I’ll explain everyhting to the geeks/ All the very best of us string ourselves up for love.” 

Overall 

Wye Oak was a fantastic opening act, and Local Natives could have been the headliner considering how good they were. Since I saw The National a couple years ago, I had wanted to see them most of all. Berninger’s baritone voice carried the concert, and there was a high level of musicianship that I haven’t seen in a while from all the bands. My only complaint would be the length between sets, but the music was astoundingly well done. If you get a chance, I’d recommend seeing any one of these bands.

Verdict: 4 out of 5

Posted by:  Andrew Jacobson

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