The Obama Summit featured musical headliner and indie rockers The National. But two days prior to their performance they snuck in an exclusive 90 minute concert at the intimate sized House of Vans Chicago. Located in Chicago's bustling west loop, Vans just opened in early 2017. And again they delighted Chicago music fans with artists who normally play much larger venues. In this case, it was a surprise appearance only announced by email invitation four days prior.
The National brings a high energy, moody, rhythmic, full-presence to their music. Even the mellower songs like "Walk It Back" has an intensity that draws the audience in. They opened the show with the first track from their 2017 release "Sleep Well Beast", "Nobody Else Will Be There" Then closed with a third encore; a cover version of The Ramone's "The KKK Took My Baby Away".
A haunting darkness on stage, they were often cast as shadowy silloquettes against blinding halos of back lighting that provided a moody setting, punchuated with full stage lighting at musical high points. Frontman and co-founder Matt Berninger worked across the stage drawing the center attention with his very physical mannerisms and passionate force. Along with Aaron Dessner (guitar, keyboards), Bryce Dessner (guitar), Scott Devendorf (bass) and Bryan Devendorf (drums) they create a very textured sound.
Nobody Else Will Be There
The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness
Walk It Back
Don't Swallow the Cap
I Need My Girl
Day I Die
Carin at the Liquor Store
The KKK Took My Baby Away