Paramount Theatre Downtown
Nov. 28-29, 7:30 p.m. 2017 All Ages
Recommended by Brian Cook
The National's popularity is a bit surprising. Whereas a lot of prominent indie acts garner attention through buzzworthy artistic conceptualizing—see Vampire Weekend's upper-crust appropriation of Afropop, Animal Collective's bubblegum collages of found sounds, everything Flaming Lips have done in the last two decades, etc.—the National have won critical accolades and a sizable following solely on the strength of their distinguished vignettes on maturing in the big city. Granted, a good song is a good song, but the Brooklyn band's tendency toward dour melodies and slow-burn arrangements, coupled with their no-frills aesthetic, is a publicist's nightmare. Fortunately, good taste occasionally prevails, and their baritone-throated brand of rock music has struck a chord with many a metropolitan inhabitant trying to navigate their way through adulthood.