Nation of Language Are Stellar at Hometown Show at Webster Hall

Nation of Language Are Stellar at Hometown Show at Webster Hall

March 04, 2022

Nation of Language Are Stellar in Hometown Show at Webster Hall

Nation of Language – Webster Hall – March 3, 2022

Nation of Language are not New Order. They’re not the Cure. Although you wouldn’t be mistaken if either came to mind. The Brooklyn band—a New Wave–inspired threesome—headlined Webster Hall Thursday night to an eager crowd. After two back-to-back records in quick succession, the band has quickly reached—and earned—scene-y rock status. Lead singer Ian Richard Devaney has an instantly iconic voice, the crooner-meets-angsty pleading of bygone ’80s influences—think Mike Score, Ian Curtis, Robert Smith. Aidan Noell, keys and vocals, dressed brilliantly in a corset-topped brocade dress, was the spine and core of the rhythm, and bassist Alex Mackay was constant, keeping the audience moving and wanting through a beautiful set.

The NOL callbacks are so convincing that they feel like classic covers. Of course, they aren’t. But songs like “This Fractured Mind” and “Across That Fine Line” feel so worn in and so nostalgic that it takes a moment to remember they’re of and from an entirely new genre of rock artist. Listen closer and you get hints and breaths of something newer: Cut Copy, Drab Majesty, Parquet Courts, Black Marble. And watch, too: Devaney is a svelte mover and dipper, an ’80s aesthete, complete with aquiline nose and buoyant brown curls. I never thought I’d say Future Islands’ Sam Herring has competition but…. (Editor’s note (which is also me): He does not. Sam is simply incomparable.) The moves are contagious, though, and hard to contain.

After their set, the band emerged to roars for an encore. Deservedly so. They are a sweet homage and an exciting reinterpretation of so many of the bands we hold dear. See them when you have the chance—and make sure to dance your butt off. —Rachel Brody | @RachelCBrody

(Nation of Language play Underground Arts in Philadelphia tomorrow night.)

Photo courtesy of Ellen Qbertplaya | @Qbertplaya

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