THERE'S something different about the crowd waiting for American indie rock band, The National, to start their set at the Riverstage in Brisbane's Botanical Gardens.

And a quick snapshot says it all really.

Stylish, well-dressed punters; polite conversation; manicured beards flecked with a sliver of silver; greying hair, thinning hair or hair long forgotten.

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This is certainly not a night for the Millennials!

Instead, the patient crowd are of a generation that prefer a good glass of red to a smuggled bottle of cheap vodka, a picnic blanket to a face full of glitter and a smart, entertaining band to an entire day of churned-out, pop-riddled, hit-makers.

And The National don't disappoint.

Led by the charismatic, strangely-poetic Matt Berninger - think lyrics such as "I'll explain everything to the geeks" played against melancholic music - the band reflects the crowd: stylish, well-dressed punters; polite conversation; manicured beards flecked with a sliver of silver; greying hair, thinning hair or hair long forgotten.

The Nationals frontman Matt Berninger performs at the Riverstage in Brisbane.
The Nationals frontman Matt Berninger performs at the Riverstage in Brisbane. Instagram/zoe_leilah

They kick off the set with the urban lullaby 'Nobody Else Will Be there' from latest album Sleep Well Beast and swing through their catalogue as far back as 2005's Alligator - which inspired a Berninger mid-show run through the crowd, taking the lyrics of 'Mr November' to the people while trailing what surely had to be the longest microphone lead known to humankind!

Berninger and his troupe really know how to read a room (or open-aired theatre if you wish). Hits such as 'The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness', 'Bloodbuzz Ohio' and 'Don't Swallow The Cap' were perfectly mingled with fan favourites such as 'Fake Empire', 'Green Gloves' and 'About Today'. A sea of people swayed, bopped and applauded with appreciation.

The crowd are so enthused and enamoured by the music that one, kind-hearted section of the crowd jumped on Berninger's hankering for nachos and left their spot at the front of the stage, rushed to the neighbouring food trucks and bought, then hand-delivered, the snack to the frontman. Imagine a bevy of 20-year-olds doing that!

And though Berninger returned the compliment with souvenir, he thanked the greater crowd for their listening generosity with a beautiful acoustic sing-along to 'Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks' - the air reverberating with a thousand voices coming together as one.

And when the band took their final bow and parted with one last wave, the crowd swept out of the amphitheatre, no pushing or shoving and nary a drunk stumble in sight.

And all on a Tuesday night.


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