The National Get in the Ring

Celebrating the release of the highly-anticipated fourth record from the National takes more than just one mere release show. Even two couldn’t cut it. Last night (May 28), the six men responsible for one of the most beloved growers in recent memory — 2005’s Alligator — played the first of five consecutive sold-out nights at New York’s Bowery Ballroom to ring in their latest classic, Boxer.

Memorial Day turned to a National holiday the second the lights went out and the packed crowd roared with applause over Bryan Devendorf’s slow drum throb of Boxer tune “Start a War.” One by one, band members took the stage, filling in clear, deep, heart-crushing noises, and by the time they cut into their second song, most of the crowd was shouting out lyrics along with singer Matt Berninger’s devastating baritone on “Secret Meeting.”

To close things out, guitarist Aaron Dessner and Berninger took turns leaning down into the crowd for a slamming rendition of “Abel” with nothing held back for the rest of the week. And while these Cincinnati-born brooding rockers now call Brooklyn home, the embracing joy in the Bowery showed that NYC, too, is eager to claim the band as their own. LAVINIA WRIGHT / PHOTOS BY JACKIE ROMAN

We asked: If you could be an indeed boxer, who would you fight and why?


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