ATMOSPHERIC magic tingled in the air as The National took to the stage in Cork on June Bank Holiday Monday.
The American indie-rock band performed at the Live At The Marquee tent following a warm up from Eve Owens, who later joined the Ohio five piece on stage for a couple numbers later in the show.
A band, it would appear, popular among middle-aged men and their partners, the audience was made up of softly swaying males, and the tent was buzzing with their mutual appreciation for the soft rock band.
A band with eight studio albums behind them, the main theme for their music would be slow, soulful sounds that speak to the heart, as opposed to getting people riled for a mosh pit.
Despite their innocuous rock sound, the band not only held the attention of the crowd, they led the charge on a very high energy evening, a surprising but enjoyable element of their performance.
While the lead singer Matt Berninger continued his reign of popularity in the grunge geek-chic world, the drummer, Bryan Devendorf, and guitarists, Aaron and Bryce Dessner, kept the enthusiasm for mellow magic alive with thumping beats and solos that electrified the low-key crowd.
The set list was a mix of tried and trusted hits and the obscure, as the band tread a fine line of keeping the die-hard fans happy while trying out new music and for the most part getting it right.
Tracks such as Bloodbuzz Ohio, I Need My girl, Fake Empire and Terrible Love led to huge applause, but it was the encore rendition of Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks that will hit the memory bank with the crowd singing back the lyrics in gusto to an enraptured Berninger who took the role of a conductor guiding a choir through the 2010 cult classic.
For many, the gig was a long-awaited crescendo moment, that signified the end of a long and arduous two years with tickets first going on sale in 2019 pre-pandemic.