By the close of 2009, Elbow had journeyed from critic’s choice to household names. As the sold out crowd exited from the band's biggest ever headlining show at the Manchester Evening News Arena on September 18th 2009, this became a fitting end to what had been arguably been the best two years of Elbow's lives. The release of The Seldom Seen Kid had made Elbow one of the biggest bands in the UK. The single "One Day Like This"the soundtrack to both World Cups and Olympics, as well as what seemed like continuous radio playhad elevated the band into a wider arena, garnering more and more acclaim. The previous couple of years had seen the album win the coveted Mercury Music Album Of The Year for 2008, while the songs "One Day Like This" and "Grounds For Divorce" each collected an Ivor Novello award. Elbow were named Best British Band at the 2009 BRITS, picked up a South Bank Show Award and were also heralded for their Outstanding Contribution to British Music at the 2009 NME Awards. For a band whose cabinet previously contained a solitary ‘Best Live Band’ award from Time Out, it was a remarkable increase of .
Elbow had always been respected for their music. The only band in NME history to have four consecutive 9/10 album reviews, they had already been described as "national treasures" by The Guardian, while the likes of John Cale (who included Elbow's "Switching Off" in his Desert Island Discs) and Michael Stipe had declared themselves fans. Having narrowly lost out to PJ Harvey in their first Mercury nomination in 2010, and alongside a BRIT nomination for Best New British Band on the same album, The Seldom Seen Kid in many ways saw the band come full circle but with one crucial differencethis time the perpetual runners-up were the winners.