When I was a youth, I loved to be buried in a wall of bass and guitar. In truth, even today, when I’m out on the road with my tongue wagging from heat and effort, there are few things that will rouse me quite like a fast beat and shouted lyrics.
Still, in the moments that I need strength – and not just adrenaline – there is little in the world that compares to the above live performance by The National. It is one of those videos I return to every few months, with a sudden craving, especially when I need to grab hold of something larger than myself.
I’m not sure if it strikes at the ridge of memory that holds my childhood experiences of watching my family, and extended family, gathering up their strings and bows to make music together in the front-room of my grandparent’s farmhouse, but there’s something in the imperfections and improvised instrumentation that makes this recording greater to me than any clean-cut album version could ever be.