Appropriately called “Welcome to Hamilton,” Supercrawl Productions recently hosted “a star-studded event raising funds to support programming for newcomer youth.” Located in the heart of Hamilton, Ontario, “Welcome to Hamilton”was an “exceptional night of music [that featured] intimate performances from The National, Hayden, Kevin Drew, Max Kerman (of Arkells) and Terra Lightfoot, along with cameo showcases from Crystal Journey and Mother Tareka.” (That’s a pretty impressive roster of musicians, if I do say so myself.) The event took place just a few days ago (Friday, June 3), and “all participants [donated] their time and talent to raise funds for music, arts and recreation programs for Syrian youth who are newcomers to Hamilton, Ontario.” During the live show, renowned indie rockers, The National, debuted a new track.
According to an interview conducted by Pitchfork Media, The National’s guitarist/keyboardist Aaron Dessner said the band is preparing to record their new album sometime this year; he recently finished building his home studio in New York where the band will “start recording soon.” Their last full-length record, Trouble Will Find Me, was released in May of 2013 to critical acclaim. Currently holding an 84 on Metacritic, Trouble Will Find Me debuted at number three on the US Billboard 200 and the UK Albums Chart. Additionally, the LP was nominated for Best Alternative Music Album at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards, losing out to Vampire Weekend’s Modern Vampires of the City. (Which currently has an 84 on Metacritic as well.) Clearly, there is some anticipation for The National’swellnext project. As a way to hype their new record, the band played two new, unreleased songs titled “Hague Blue” and “The Day I Die.” The latter of which has been filmed for your viewing (and listening) pleasure.
— The National (@The_National) June 4, 2016
“Welcome to Hamilton” was a way for Ontario to greet (and aid) the Syrian refugees who recently settled in the city. Syria’s been at war with itself for quite some time; while the civil war began in the Spring of 2011, the crisis reached a tipping point last year, with an approximated 4.6 million Syrians displaced and disenfranchised by the strife within their home country. As stated by the event’s official website (WelcomeToHamilton.Org), “Canada has welcomed nearly 27,000 Syrian refugees to date, with Hamilton settling roughly 1,200 of those (more than half of whom are children). Welcome to Hamilton aims to support programs that help these newcomers feel welcomed — inclusive programming that offers newcomer youth opportunities to interact with Canadian kids. Programs supported will be administered by community organizations Centre3 for Print and Media Arts, Soccer World, and An Instrument for Every Child.”
On a much lighter note, The National look like they’re having a good time on stage. Although the video is merely fan footage, the tune sounds jaunty, with a groovy bass line, some slick guitar leads, and piercing drums and percussion. (Which juxtaposes the title of the song.) Frontman Matt Berlinger leans over the microphone stand delivering an impassioned vocal performance. (Even though you can’t hear the words too well due to the quality of the recording.) Still, each band member has an aurora of enjoyment to them, nodding their heads in a rhythmic cadence to the beat of the song. This is as dive bar, hole-in-the-wall, small house intimate as you can get. (Maybe you can get more intimate than this, but that’s neither here nor there.) If you’ve seen The National live before, then you know what I’m talking about. If you haven’t, well now’s your chance: you can watch The National jam their new song above, and keep up with them on Twitter for updates on their new record.
[Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images]