2005_09_artsnational.jpgWe sincerely hope that people get to know The National as more than just the band that Clap Your Hands Say Yeah opened for on their first big tour. They released one of the most earnest, heartfelt and genuine records of 2005, and we were thrilled to see that they were able to exude an equal amount of emotion in the corporate confines of the SPIN Magazine offices.

The band acts like they care. Whereas disaffected indifference may have become the standard for most acts out of Brooklyn, these guys left it all out on the stage. Frontman Matt Berninger stalked around the small area in front of the stage, often with is back to the crowd and his head in his hands. A few times he would step back into the audience, bottle of beer in hand, and watch his band play for him along with the rest of us. His voice mostly remained in a cool, collected, yet eerily haunting baritone, but occasionally it would explode into a fury of angst, as if he was in a shouting match with whatever demons were currently crawling around his head. The addition of a violin to the mix added an entirely new element to the already complex musical arrangements of these songs. After hearing them once like this, it was hard to picture them any other way.

The band will be playing tonight at Warsaw and Friday at Bowery Ballroom. Both shows are sold out, but if you are going one of these nights to check out the also excellent Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, do not make the mistake of leaving before The National go on. They are an incredible band that deserves this city's attention.

For more on the band, check out our interview with them, as well as their SXSW tour diary. Video from the show should be available at SPINhouse Live at spin.com in a few days. For now, you can check out some more pictures up at Flickr.