Latitude: The National review

IT’S a sign of The National’s burgeoning reputation that they leapt up the Latitude pecking order, from just another band last year to main stage headliners this.

And the New York-based five-piece didn’t disappoint at the Obelisk Arena on Friday evening - their rich back catalogue helped grease the wheels of a rousing, memorable performance.

Not that you would have necessarily guessed that from the crowd. It’s perhaps an upshot of the band’s often dark lyrics that enjoying their sound is an introspective moment for devotees.

Their brooding sound and loop-free, rambling and surreal lyrics are a joy. But coupled with singer-songwriter Matt Berninger’s rich, baritone vocals and some superb drumming rhythms, it’s a special combination.

Most of Friday’s set came from The National’s last two albums: Boxer and High Violet. Some of the tracks from these albums - most notably Fake Empire, England and Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks - lend themselves to a big-stage, festival appearance and they got a good showing here.

There was one blip - a strange-sounding version of Secret Meeting - but they wound up their set with a powerful showing of Mr November. It was part of an encore which saw Berninger embark on a bizarre walk through an appreciative crowd.

Who said festival headliners could not be at least a little intimate?

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