A year after playing the second stage Word tent The National arrived back at Latitude in triumphant but typically gloomy style to claim their much-heralded prize as a full-on festival headliner.
It wasn’t so much a triumphant moment as a nodding reward to an incredible band that has risen through the festival ranks, earning their stars through countless earnest performances on countless smaller stages.
Against a video screen backdrop that summed up the band’s own deliciously inimitable style – inverted video of the gig, suggesting melancholy songs torn inside out – The National proved that painful can be fun, truth can be enjoyable and carving up an abrasive ‘Mr November’ in front of 30,000 eager fans can be the finest thing you have seen all weekend.
As Ben James, from Colchester, said, “He (Matt Berninger, vocals) does it so well. He grips the crowd like he fears letting them go, like he’s a part of them. That’s why I love them so much.”