Friday, October 12, 2007

Different Strokes for Similar Folks

Last night I caught two rock shows by two very different rock bands in the same city: The National at Terminal 5 and ALO at Bowery Ballroom. Both shows---at least broadly ---appealed to the same target demographic (white 20-30 something’s) and were promoted by the same tastemakers (Bowery Presents), but aside from that they

veered in almost opposite directions. The National embodies a dark, intellectual, emo-aesthetic one can only truly understand after spending an evening crammed like a sardine on the L train en route to a loft party while wearing pants two sizes too tight. ALO, on the other hand, sparkles with a sunny, Summer of Love glow one can only truly relate to after losing yourself---or at least freeing your mind---in a game of trampoline kickball in the fresh air of High Sierra (man). Both bands are currently swooping back through New York after successful opening stints for their scene’s biggest band (Arcade Fire and Dave Matthews Band, respectively), both are riding high on mature, breakthrough late spring/early summer releases (Boxer and Roses & Clover, once again respectively) and, surprisingly, both seem to tackle very similar subject matters (especially when placed back-to-back on the same evening). So, in case these not-so-strange bedfellows are rolling through your city anytime soon, but sure to ready both the tissues and the glitter and try to envision the National and ALO switching tempos for an evening:

Some Lyrical Overlaps:


The National: “Secret Meeting”

Choice Lines:

I think this place is full of spies

I think they're onto me

Didn't anybody, didn't anybody tell you

Didn't anybody tell you how to gracefully disappear in a room

ALO: “Plastic Bubble”

Choice Line:

Living in a plastic bubble

A bubble in a plastic world

Ooh, ooh, ooh

Living in a plastic bubble

And it’s good.


The National: “Slow Show”

Choice Line:

You know I dreamed about you
for twenty-nine years before I saw you
You know I dreamed about you
I missed you for
for twenty-nine years

ALO: “Girl, I Want to Lay You Down”

Choice Line:

Come Over, Cook a little dinner, a little Pasta

Listen to the music, a little Rasta

Girl, I Want to Lay You Down

The Speed of Life

The National: “Racing Like a Pro”

Choice Line:

Your mind is racing like a pro, now
oh my god it doesn’t mean a lot to you
one time you were a glowing young ruffian
oh my god it was a million years ago

ALO: “Maria”

Choice Line:

And if we loose our balance

And we start to drift and fall

And we wind up on our knees

Well remember we still can crawl

and, of course, Emptiness:

The National: “Ada

Choice Line:
Stand inside an empty tuxedo with grapes in my mouth
waiting for Ada
Ada hold onto yourself by the sleeves
I think everything counts a little more than we think
leave it all up in the air
leave it all up in the air
leave it all up in the air

ALO: “Empty Vessel”

Choice Line:

I’m an incomplete empty vessel

Waiting for the one to fill me up

Waiting for the day to hear you say “I Love You”

But you won’t so I’m gonna leave

I do believe I’ve had enough

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