Legendary indie rock act The National have just wrapped up the first leg of a tour that sees them alternating playing alongside alt-pop acts Japanese Breakfast and Lucy Dacus, and indie rocker Bartees Strange. We caught up with the tour as they were slated to play with the incredible Japanese Breakfast at Portland, Maine’s seaside venue Thompson’s Point! Unfortunately, just a few days prior, Japanese Breakfast had to drop due to positive Covid-19 tests in the band and crew. Luckily for those in attendance, The National was able to pick up NYC-based singer/songwriter Cassandra Jenkins for this night’s show!

Somehow, despite a forecast that called for strong thunderstorms that afternoon through the evening, mother nature seemed to relent, with rain clearing just ahead of the doors opening for the night’s festivities! Opener Cassandra Jenkins, realizing she had big shoes to fill, joked as she entered her second song, “Hey, we’re Japanese Breakfast…” Luckily, while not exactly the expected opener, Jenkins and her cohorts gave a stellar performance, encouraging the crowd to dance as long as they didn’t try to incite further rain as she launched into her song “Crosshairs.”

After a bit of a wait for the stage to change over, The National emerged to a setting sun with set-opener, “Don’t Swallow the Cap.” Frontman Matt Berninger’s wonderfully strange stage presence was on full display this evening as he periodically stepped up onto the stage monitors, looming over the audience and crooning. The National truly is in a league of their own, having blazed the trail for many an indie band since their inception in 1999.

The night wasn’t without its hiccups for the group, with Berninger joking that apparently he just wants to keep singing the second verse of his songs first. A bandmate was quick to quip that maybe he was just trying to change the song! Their performance would continue with hits, “Bloodbuzz Ohio,” “The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness,” “I Need My Girl,” and “This Is The Last Time,” just to name a few. Later in the set, Berninger was joined on vocal duties by singer/songwriter Gracie Abrams for the track “Rylan.” Check out fan-filmed footage below:

Needless to say, this was one of the major highlights of the show; Gracie’s smokey voice greatly complimented Berninger’s—one can only hope they might do a more formal collaboration down the road!

The National closed with another smattering of hits, capping their nearly two-hour-long set with a four-song encore featuring “Terrible Love” and “About Today.” If you haven’t caught the start of this run, fear not! The National is continuing their tour through late September, hitting spots in Canada, the UK, and the USA. Check out the remaining tour dates below!

Remaining 2022 Tour Dates:

08-06 Edmonton, Alberta – Gallagher Park (Edmonton Folk Festival)
08-07 Calgary, Alberta – Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium
08-08 Missoula, MT – KettleHouse Amphitheater
08-09 Ogden, UT – Ogden Amphitheater
08-10 Dillon, CO – Dillon Amphitheater
08-12 Bellevue, NE – Falconwood Park (Outlandia Music Festival)
08-14 Seattle, WA – Seattle Center (Day In Day Out Festival)
08-26 London, England – All Points East
08-28 Edinburgh, Scotland – Connect Festival
09-12 Morrison, CO – Red Rocks Amphitheatre
09-13 Kansas City, MO – Grinders KC
09-14 Minneapolis, MN – Surly Brewing Festival Field
09-16 Milwaukee, WI – Riverside Theater
09-17 Maryland Heights, MO – Saint Louis Music Park
09-18 Indianapolis, IN – TCU Amphitheater at White River State Park
09-19 Pittsburgh, PA – Heinz Hall for the Performing Arts
09-22 Boston, MA – Roadrunner
09-24 Harrisburg, PA – Harrisburg University
09-25 Bridgeport, CT – Seaside Park (Sound on Sound Festival)

Author

When he's not out in the woods, clomping around in streams, or looking at shiny rocks, you can find our U.S. Managing Editor and contributing photographer Nathan Katsiaficas in the photo pit, covering everything from heavy metal to punk, alternative, indie, and hip-hop.