Still, one thing I went to see was somehow officially part of it, and that was the excellent gig for The National at the Corn Exchange, along with my sister, Mr Cakes, and L. I'd enjoyed them very much at The Astoria in London about 3 years ago, but I was taken aback by how much they'd grown in confidence since then, and, if I may use that Spinal Tap-esque phrase "Stagecraft". They just looked a whole lot more comfortable being there.
The puzzle remains though. A band with introspective, melancholic songs with no immediately obvious hook-laden choruses, and whose members are older and less good-looking than a lot of other bands. Despite this, they filled the Corn Exchange, and seem to have only grown in popularity. My straw-poll of gazing around the audience seemed to show an extremely varied bunch, so it's not just your thin and pale indy kids either.
One wonders what the secret is. Persistence counts for a lot, and possibly, not "giving in" and making an obviously commercial record. I think people respect that, to a certain extent. I think they're great, long may they continue.