It’s been 15 months since The National hit the road to promote their break-through album High Violet. Tonight they played their last headline show on European soil for “a long time” and judging by what was at times a sluggish and fairly routine performance, the Brooklyn quintet could do with a rest.

Tonight they showed glimpses of what they’re capable of, most notably during Abel, Mr November and the frenzied climax of Squalor Victoria. However poor sound and a lack of energy from the band, and in particular their usual driving-force frontman Matt Berninger, meant ultimately it was a solid rather than spectacular display.

Watch the Video for The National’s Abel


The last time The National played the Academy they supported Editors. In the four years since, the Brooklyn-based five-piece has gone from strength to strength, releasing two more critically-acclaimed albums, the most recent of which was this year’s High Violet.

Not surprisingly anticipation levels were extremely high before the band trooped on stage, but sadly a combination of hollow sound, a new-material-heavy set list and an at times tired delivery meant overall it was a disappointing display.

All The Wine was the worst affected by sound deficiencies, the song reduced to a shadow of its usual glorious self while the bulk of material from High Violet lacked depth.

Conversation 16 was the pick of the new songs but for sheer potency and the sight of singer Matt Berninger working his way through the Academy crowd to deliver his vitriolic barrage from the sound desk, it was Mr November that stole the show.

An eventful encore saw the band debut a new track, a piano-led slow-burner, then round things off with an a capella rendition of Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks – a nice idea in theory but one which in practise proved patchy.