The National are finally coming home. The Brooklyn-based band of Cincinnati natives — guitarists Aaron and Bryce Dessner, bassist Scott Devendorf, drummer Bryan Devendorf and singer Matt Berninger — are headlining this year's MusicNOW festival, which, like The National's slow, steady rise to prominence, has evolved into one of the more unique and anticipated musical events in the Midwest.
Now in his sixth year of presenting adventurous artists of various styles and musical approaches (see this year's lineup info in Sound Advice here), festival curator Bryce Dessner thought it was the right time to ask his longtime bandmates to play MusicNOW.
“It feels like a homecoming in a way,” Dessner says by phone from Brooklyn.
“I think we were due. We haven't been to Cincinnati since the Obama rally at Fountain Square in ’08 and people and family had been asking when we were going to play there again. This is the sixth year of MusicNOW and the band hasn't played. Part of it is that I never felt like we could do it in Memorial Hall. We're too loud and the Hall doesn't really support or work as well with Rock music. I think the loudest band we've had (for MusicNOW) is the Dirty Projectors, which was amazing, but I think a third of the audience had to get up and leave.”
The National plays closing night of the MusicNOW festival Sunday at Music Hall. Go here to read Jason Gargano's full interview.