Music: The National, Alexandra Palace

In Trouble Will Find Me, The National have a strong contender for album of the year. Here are three reasons why their Ally Pally gig was an hour and a half of awesomeness:

the national

1. The frontman

Ohio native Matt Berninger, the refined 42-year-old lead singer of the band, is known for writing haunting, melancholic lyrics which are delivered in his understated but distinctive vocals. His stage presence is undeniable and he totally tore it up last night,  revving up the mood with some uncharacteristic shouting on songs like Mr November before stripping it back on my choice pick, I Need My Girl. Whether he was striding into the crowd frenetically or standing calmly centre-stage, he kept everyone captivated. And we liked his constant but inappropriate dedications of songs to some bloke called Howard.

2. The venue

Ally Pally may be an absolute arse to get to, but the 19th century venue is a spectacular setting for a gig like this. The acoustics are sound, the room manages to feel intimate despite its size, and the arched windows and grand architecture add to the sense of occasion. Kudos to the crowd for the noticeable lack of camera phone megalomaniacs too – I can’t stand it when people end up watching gigs through their gadgets.

3. The encore

You could have heard a pin drop during the final song, an acoustic version of Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks. It was beautiful.

The deets:

For more on the National go to: http://americanmary.com/

To find out what’s on at Ally Pally go to: www.alexandrapalace.com

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