Marla Hansen/The Forms/Doveman/Elvis Perkins/The National @ Music Hall Of Williamsburg, Brooklyn 10/12-13/07

Took us a few weeks, but finally we hopped the L across the river and had ourselves a night at Bowery Presents’ renovated-Northsix digs. Actually, we had ourselves two of ‘em — on account of the National’s drawing power, yes, but also on account of their great taste in opening acts. Lots of mutual respect and love in the air all weekend at MHOW: The first night’s early slot brought the gorgeous voiced violin-plucker Marla Hansen, whose Boxer backing vocals and night two cameo during the National’s set were plenty to carry the band’s obvious endorsement. (Be sure to check out her sublime cover of Castanets’ “Sway” here.) The second slot Friday night belonged to Stereofaves and Drive XV alum the Forms (no “Ignoreland” that night, but cover-consolation came via a great, time-signature shifting take on “All Apologies”). You already know we’re crazy about ‘em, so take it from Matt Berninger:

Via Music Gourmets:

MUSIC GOURMETS: Recommend a band that far too people have heard of, and a band you love that might surprise folks.

MATT BERNINGER:There’s a band called The Forms, from New York, that just recorded their second record with Steve Albini. Really great record.

Matt then added, “I also love the Elvis Perkins record, that I just recently discovered.” Agreed. So Saturday night provided a chance to sit with another bill of favorites: Elvis Perkins, who had the crowd in his palms from the marching band bass drum tracks to the ever poignant “While You Were Sleeping,” and the inimitable Doveman, he of Boxer keyboard work/the National-on-Letterman appearances/and the National newsletter fame (the band recently wrote via email that Doveman’s new record With My Left Hand I Raise The Dead is “one of our favorites of the year.” And they showed that love by having Bryce, Aaron, and Bryan join Thomas on stage as the Doveman backing band, making Bartlett’s candlelit lullabies sound positively Nationalistic.

Running into the low double-digits of nights with Berninger & Co. this year, and that’s a good thing. Of course some shows are gonna be better than others, so we’ll do the obligatory compare/contrast and rank Saturday ahead of Friday, if only for the Marla/Doveman cameos onstage and the awesome “All The Wine.” The slowly simmering end-of-song build-ups are starting to sound “bigger,” which is an interesting development. Maybe a sign of things to come. Lots of pics below, happy scrolling.