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30 Day Song Challenge #11: A Song From Your Favourite Band

[Day 11: A Song From Your Favourite Band]

The National – About Today

‘Your Favourite Band’ would have thrown me a few months ago. Because I never really had one favourite band until this year. Previously I would have said some combination of Arcade Fire, The National, and Sigur Rós, depending on how I was feeling and who I had been listening to lately.

But then I saw The National live, and it was immediately crystal clear to me who my favourite band is. And this isn’t just because I had the time of my life at their live show, it’s because all their music takes on even more meaning and magic after you witness a The National gig. Everything I felt before when listening to their music is magnified and multiplied now, to the point where listening to it can be an extremely powerful and overwhelming experience.

I won’t bore you with too many details of how incredible I found the two The National shows I went to earlier this year, but suffice to say that they were both the greatest gigs of my life. I will particularly never forget singing Terrible Love with Matt on the first night as he stood on the seats of my mates and I, with my arms outstretched to the ceiling for some reason and my voice screaming as loud as it possibly could. To call that moment euphoric would be a severe understatement.

“IT TAKES AN OCEAN NOT TO BREAK!”

But this song, About Today, specifically was only played on the second night, when I went to the show with balcony seats rather than seats right at the front of the stalls. Hearing it live was in part so special because it took me completely by surprise. I thought I had possible The National setlists pretty much memorised, and they always seemed to play fairly similar encores.

This song hadn’t been played all tour, and despite it being one of my faovurite The National songs I wasn’t even considering the possibility of it being played. But then, out of nowhere, it was. And it was utterly sublime. It’s so restrained but yet so majestic at the same time. In many ways it is so much that is great about The National, distilled into one timeless and enthralling song.

In the wake of those two shows, I have no hesitation whatsoever when someone asks who my favourite band is.

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