Let Me Entertain You: NonCOMM 2010 part 2

On each day of NonCOMM this year, one performance was billed as a Free At Noon concert, to coincide with XPN’s weekly (and usually Friday) event.  The performance from JP, Chrissie and the Fairground Boys was considered as such, as was the pair of live performances on Saturday.

Graham Parker

Say what you will about me after reading my review of Graham Parker‘s new album, Imaginary Television, but I’m still a fan of the guy’s music.  Graham’s NonCOMM set was similar to how I saw him at the Tin Angel however many years ago: solo with a beautiful acoustic guitar.  The set was short, just as the other noontime performances were, so Graham only got in 4 songs.  The first was “Ambiguous,” from Imaginary Television‘s predecessor, Don’t Tell Columbus.  That was followed with two of the new songs which, as I expected, were not so unbearable in a live context.  I maintain that the songs themselves are not particularly bad, they’re just not up to the level of even his other recent work (“Ambiguous,” for example, is a very cleverly-penned tune, and it’s only from 2007).  The new songs paled even more when Graham grabbed his harmonica for a closing rendition of “Heat Treatment.”  I’m positive that Graham hasn’t spent all of his creative chips, regardless of what my review may lead you to believe.

The National

Now here’s something unusual: a little review about a band that I disliked going into NonCOMM.  Countless people I’m in contact with, either in person or online, have insisted that I give the music of The National a try.  There are, in fact, songs of theirs that I know, but none of those songs have moved me enough to want to hear more.  Their NonCOMM set, which featured four songs from their new album, High Violet, continued that empty streak.  As bombastic as The National try to be, it’s hard for me not to think that there’s something missing.  Whether it’s lead singer Matt Berninger‘s attempts to look tortured during the songs by clutching the microphone, or the mere presence of the two-man brass section, The National try really, really hard.  I heard stories from their Electric Factory show that night (which, like the Factory show the night before, had been sold out for weeks) that implied that the band opened up a bit more in a full performance, but even that doesn’t make me any more interested in this painfully average band.  Go on, National fans, have at me.

Click HERE to see more pictures from NonCOMM 2010!!

~ by E. on June 9, 2010.

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