I have no qualms admitting I arrived a little late to the party in regards to the greatness of The National. My friend Bobby Lerma from the Father Figures recorded two songs, Daughters of the Soho Riots and Mr. November from the band’s third album Alligator a few years ago for me on a compilation he put together for me. I liked the songs and went out and bought the album. I am still trying to figure out why the disc just did not click with me, but for whatever reason I ignored it after a few listens.
The problem is I did not pick up Boxer when it was released in 2007. HUGE mistake I discovered just a few months ago. When the buzz over the 2010 release of High Violet began earlier this year I blew it off – until Aaron Kes from The Other 49 and Brendan Murphy from Source Victoria both told me to get it, and Kevin Murphy raved about the album on his blog So Much Silence. Three positive reviews from three highly credible sources. “What the hell,” I figured, “I’ll give it a shot.”
If 2010 ended today High Violet would be my Number One pick for Album of the Year. It is not even close right now. Jeez, I am a jackass sometimes.
The National is scheduled to perform in concert at the Marquee Theatre on October 14. Due to the fact some bands have joined Sound Strike and are boycotting the state of Arizona, while others (Band of Horses anyone?) seem to keep scheduling tour dates and conveniently skipping us, I was worried something would happen with this show. The National is a band I would travel to go see in a heartbeat, but of course a local show, particularly now, is much better.
Any fears I had were cast out today. I am on the email list for the band, so I received this wonderful tidbit of news this morning:
“Finally, we’d like you to know that we’re concerned about the discriminatory legislation that has been passed into law in Arizona. We don’t feel it’s right to boycott playing in AZ as our fans had no say in passing SB 1070, but we do intend to donate a share of proceeds from the October Tucson and Tempe shows to Latino Justice PRLDEF in support of their civil rights work. You can learn more about this organization at www.latinojustice.org.”
Finally, another band that gets it! CAKE played the Marquee Theatre earlier this year, with lead singer/guitarist John McCrea using the stage at one brief point during the show to voice his concern with SB1070. But the band still played! Lady Gaga was in concert two weeks ago. I am not a fan of her music, but I respect the heck out of her for still doing the concert even with several artists telling her to boycott the state.
A hearty thanks to The National for not only honoring a commitment to perform here, but speaking out on the issue in an eloquent manner, voicing their concern and offering part of their proceeds from the show to charity.
People, this is not about whether or not you agree with the band’s viewpoint. It is not about SB1070. It is not about politics, period. It is about an artist doing the right thing by not penalizing their fans, the people who support their way of living by showing up to see them play and buying their albums. This email today gave me hope there are artists out there that realize refusing to play in Arizona will have no economic impact on the state, only on the venues (particularly the smaller ones), the promoters (never happy if Psyko Steve is affected in any way) and most of all, the fans.
A couple of weeks after picking up High Violet I started dipping into the back catalog of The National. Boxer has not gone more than three days without landing in my player. I reiterate, I am a jackass. What a band, I cannot wait for October 14!