The National’s Matt Berninger hits out at Boris Johnson: “Hopefully you have some politicians with character and backbone”

The band also covered 'Ohio' by Crosby, Stills & Nash

The National‘s Matt Berninger hit out at Prime Minister Boris Johnson during the opening night of the band’s UK tour in Brighton on Saturday (December 7). See footage and photos from the gig below.

The band arrived on the south coast as part of their 2019 UK victory lap for their acclaimed eighth album ‘I Am Easy To Find‘. Joined by Eve Owen and This Is The Kit’s Kate Stables, The National were on the finest of form as they travelled the full emotional gamut in a career-spanning set of fan favourites and highlights from their latest record.

The National live at Brighton Centre.
The National live at Brighton Centre. Credit: Burak Cingi/Redferns


Closing the encore, the band delivered devastating renditions of rarity ‘About Today’ and their standard a capella take on ‘Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks’ from 2010’s ‘High Violet’.

“I had a list of people that I wanted to say mean things about,” said Berninger, introducing ‘About Today’. “This is for our families… This is not for Boris.”

After cheers from the crowd, Berninger continued: “If this shit happens to you guys, you have no idea how bad it is. It’s fucking terrible. Hopefully you guys have some politicians with character and backbone to stand up to the morons. We’re lacking in character and backbone in Ohio.”

The show also saw Berninger take aim at a populist kind of politics that “is dying in America”.

After accepting their State flag from an audience member and using it to decorate an amp, The National also brought a cover of Crosy, Stills And Nash’s 1970 counterculture anthem ‘Ohio’ into their encore.


Other highlights came during tender outings of ‘Rylan’, ‘Fake Empire’ and ‘England’, with the crowd’s most fevered reaction saved for the audience invasion during ‘Mr November’.

The National’s setlist was:

You Had Your Soul With You
Quiet Light
The Pull of You
Don’t Swallow the Cap
Bloodbuzz Ohio
Hey Rosey
Where Is Her Head
I Need My Girl
This Is the Last Time
Day I Die
The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness
Light Years
Carin at the Liquor Store
I Am Easy to Find
Fake Empire
Ohio (Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young cover)
Mr. November
Terrible Love
About Today
Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks

While fans are expecting more worldwide shows to celebrate the 10th anniversary of their seminal 2010 album ‘High Violet’ after it was revealed they’d playing it in full at their own curated Homecoming Festival, The National recently announced that they’d be returning for Europe for a string of Irish shows in June.

Berninger is also soon expected to reveal more details about his debut solo album ‘Serpentine Prison‘, having already shared his Phoebe Bridgers collaboration ‘Walking On A String‘.

The National’s remaining UK and Ireland tour dates are below.

Monday December 9, 2019 – CARDIFF Motorpoint Arena
Tuesday December 10, 2019 – NOTTINGHAM Motorpoint Arena
Saturday June 6, 2020 – BELFAST Botanic Gardens
Sunday June 7, 2020 – LIMERICK Docklands
Monday June 8, 2020 – CORK Live At The Marquee