The National Play To Lucky Few

Local indie heavyweights The National played their second straight improbably intimate show at a Milk Studios Fashion Week eve gathering last night. What instant Twitter crowd reports from the gallery space lacked in details, they made up for with enthusiasm ("All killer no filler,""Pretty sweet," "UM, WOW," "AMAZING SHOW TONIGHT!!!!!"). The semi-secret gig followed a Tuesday night Studio at Webster Hall show that was taped by MTV and held a sliver of The National's typical live crowds.

The band's often melancholy music might seem an unorthodox choice for a Fashion Week kickoff, let alone a tequila-driven fiesta. DeLeon sponsored the open bar, leading photographer Sam Horine to write, "Sometimes all you need is getting paid to drink tequila and shoot the national to get you out of that winter funk." Then again, baritone-voiced lead singer Matt Berninger told Rolling Stone yesterday that the band is moving in a different sonic direction. That might concern some longtime fans. But the group's pair of sets at pocket-sized venues this week found them in fine, emotionally expansive form.

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