My days of going to festivals are long gone. I can’t put up with the mud/sun/teenagers/warm beer etc etc and now I’m limited to watching them on the computer or television. There is however a slight pang in my heart that I am not at Latitude Festival tomorrow. The reason being is that The National are playing and for the last two or three years I’ve been a little obsessed with their music.
A mate of mine told me he liked them a few years back and for some reason I got them all confused with the likes of The Script and The Wanted and all that pop nonsense. I thought he’s lost his marbles. Then one day I heard the song About Today and thought, “Wow!”. I – like hundreds of thousand of other people – was mightily impressed. Naturally I investigated and quickly downloaded all their catalogue.
It was a strange beginning. At first I thought, “Yeah they aren’t bad but it’s all a bit samey” but over the days and weeks listening to them it was anything but samey. The haunting deep vocals, the musicianship of the band and the epic songs, all beautifully crafted set them apart from other bands. They are an American band that at one turn are drifting into Americana before jumping out of the other end sounding like Joy Division might have done if they’d carried on.
They are not everybody’s cup of tea but those that follow them are devoted to them. It’s easy to see why. The sad, melancholic songs are just right for the world at this moment; oblique lyrics and such tunes! They are also sensational live as those at Latitude will witness. Then again they are a bit of an institution at Latitude working themselves up to headliners.
The National will be sensational – just wish I was going…