The National Sets the Mood on 'SNL' With 'Graceless' Performance

Brooklyn-based indie mainstays The National made their "Saturday Night Live" debut this weekend, showing America why for the last decade they've been one of the most revered rock bands around.

Coming nearly 10 months after the release of "Trouble Will Find Me," the band's sixth studio album, The National opened with an aggressive (for them, at least) version of "Graceless." Frontman Matt Berninger clutched the microphone to deliver the moody lyrics as his compatriots (the brothers Dessner and Devendorf) built a swirling vibe of guitars and drums. With a minute left in the track, Berninger seemed to forget that there are consequences when you slam a mic against ones leg (random clangs), but hey it's only rock and roll.

They followed-up with the much-quieter, even-more-brooding "I Need My Girl," also off "Trouble Will Find Me," which bowed at No. 3 on the Billboard 200.

"Girls" star Lena Dunham hosted the night's episode. "SNL" returns March 29 with Louis C.K. as host. A musical guest has not been announced.


The Biz premium subscriber content has moved to

To simplify subscriber access, we have temporarily disabled the password requirement.