The National, live in London

Brixton 02 Academy, London (The National 1/12/10)There are many indicators the concert you’ve been to was special.

Having the band’s songs stuck in your head for days and days afterwards is one. Another is having the way you previously felt about a song totally changed around. Both apply to The National gig I went to last week at the 02 Brixton Academy in London.

I went on 1 December, the last night of their three-night run. Reviews of the band’s earlier shows at the venue indicated a band somewhat ill at ease. But when I saw them the band seemed perhaps a notch less energetic than when I last saw them – at the 2008 Wireless festival in Hyde Park, but nothing more.

You’d certainly be hard pressed to call them downbeat when they ripped into Abel or Mr November from Alligator.

They started with Mistaken For Strangers, one of my favourite of the band’s songs, so that should have set the bar for the rest of the set pretty high. But then I realised how many more of their songs I love.

Thanks to the magic of the internet here are some videos recorded by people standing nearer the stage than I was.

Oh, and that song I’ve changed my mind about? That’d be the acoustic version of Vanderlyte Crybaby Geeks.

Why? By acoustic I mean ‘no electricity’, not for amplifiers, not for microphones. Given that the Academy has a capacity of just under 5,000, quieting the audience and then holding us rapt was remarkable.

And here’s the night’s set list.

The National Setlist O2 Academy Brixton, London, England 2010

And finally here’s the song that’s been stuck hardest in my head (isn’t the internet just great!).


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