The National at the RoundhouseCultureMusicLive music
To put it simply, The National are outstanding. Having recently released new album Trouble Will Find Me, the band announced a show in London just two weeks prior to the event taking place. The Roundhouse in Camden is not estranged to top acts, but tonight’s performance was a lesson in class and quality.
The National have a huge following, the prospect of seeing them in a relatively intimate setting made such waves that the Roundhouse website crashed with the demand for tickets. The performance was well worth the wait for those lucky enough to get their hands on one.
Taking to the stage promptly, the band walked on to rapturous applause, having been suitably warmed up by Local Natives. Behind them, five huge LED screens showed footage of the band walking from backstage to centre stage and later showed live footage of the band as well as lights and imagery throughout their performance. The impact was staggering.
Kicking off a twenty-three-song set with the first track from the new album, The National entranced the audience in a way performers can rarely do. Every element of the set seemed both polished and wrought with emotion. Lead singer Matt Berninger was on fine form with funny stage banter and a voice to blow you away.
As the set progressed with a mixture of new and old material, it gathered momentum and the final three songs whipped the crowd into a frenzy. As is standard, Berninger tore off into the crowd during Mr November, even stretching his microphone cable to take a trip towards the Roundhouse toilets! Terrible Love saw him straddling the barrier to get close to fans at the front, but final track Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks was the moment to remember. Totally acoustic, the band formed a line on stage and encouraged a sing-a-long. The roar of tuneful singing from the crowd as they sang every word back at them was an incredible sight.
The National proved that they are an impeccable headline act and should be at the top of the bill of every major festival. They are so appealing because of their authenticity: strip away the lights and the showmanship, and you see a band with well-crafted songs, performed with finesse and a moving passion. The National are the real deal.
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