Latitude 2016

The National return as heroes to Latitude 2016

New song ‘The Lights’ is premiered as part of glorious headline set.

Tonight, The National become the first band to headline Latitude for a second time, and Matt Berninger takes time at the start of the band’s set to remember how much the festival helped them as a smaller band making their way.

He recalls the band’s first set here in 2007, where they had to borrow equipment from Cold War Kids. “We based a whole tour around coming to play here. They offered us more money than we’d ever seen.” An honesty only The National could provide, then. Tonight’s set leans heavily on 2013’s ‘Trouble Will Find Me’, with four new songs also previewed.

‘The Day I Die’ comes first, and feels like an instant classic. Bryan Devendorf’s backbeat is as thunderous as ever, and the band look perfectly confident with the song now, after loose, nervy videos of the song had appeared on the internet in the past few months.

‘Can’t You Find A Way’ is quieter and more reflective, with Berninger’s vocals stuck in the foreground, the absolute focal point, and where they do their best work. An even newer track, ‘The Lights’, is also previewed, with Berninger admitting it’s “a shitty title, but a good song.”

Lauren Mayberry of Chvrches joins the band for a gorgeous rendition of ‘I Need My Girl’, adding delicacy to Berninger’s bite.

Songs that are insular on record become anthems live, with ‘I Should Live In Salt’ and ‘Afraid Of Everyone’ belted back at the band with adoration. By ‘Terrible Love’, Berninger is buried in the front rows of the crowd, losing his glasses in the process.

The National have always been a well kept secret. The fact that they can waltz in and headline a festival as big as this having not released an album in three years is a measure of how far they have come, without ever having a tangible ‘big break’. The secret is well and truly out by now, but the band still manage to make tonight feel close, personal and superbly special.

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Photos: Sarah Louise Bennett / DIY

Tags: The National, Latitude, Festivals, Reviews, Live Reviews

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