|The National has garnered quite the following on the indie music scene with its melancholy, nebulous sound and enigmatic lyrics. Formed in 1999, The Brooklyn-based quintet has been lauded by critics since the band’s early days and continues to wow audiences with one-of-a-kind live performances. Often grouped with treasured artists such as Sufjan Stevens, St. Vincent and Bon Iver, The National is one of the few bands to stand the test of time after the decline of the post-punk revival. With wide-ranging hits such as “Secret Meeting,” “Fake Empire,” “I Need My Girl,” “All the Wine,” “About Today” and “The Geese Of Beverly Road,” The National is one of the most enduring bands of the late 20th century. Buy The National tickets now to experience one of alternative rock’s all-time treasures!
Matt Berninger, The National’s lead singer known for his trademark baritone, met bassist Scott Devendorf in 1991 while both men attended University of Cincinnati. With Mike Brewer, Casey Reas and Jeff Salem they formed the band Nancy, named after Berninger’s mother. The quintet, much influenced by the group Pavement, played together for five years, but disbanded after most of the members relocated to Brooklyn. Meanwhile, drummer Bryan Devendorf was playing in a band called Project Nim with guitarists Aaron and Bryce Dessner. Project Nim ended in 1998, and The National was formed with Berninger on vocals, Scott Devendorf on bass, Bryan Devendorf on drums, Aaron Dessner on guitars and keyboards, and Bryce Dessner on guitar.
The members of The National kept their day jobs, but got a regular gig playing at the renowned Luna Lounge in NYC’s lower east side. The band self-released an eponymous debut with the Dessners’ label Brassland Records in 2001. The album was a critical hit and was followed two years later by Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers, which was produced by Peter Katis, who became a long-term collaborator with the band.
The National followed up with a critically-acclaimed EP in 2004 titled Cherry Tree, which included the singles “All the Wine” and “About Today.” That year, the band toured with The Walkmen and quit their day jobs to pursue music full-time. The National felt running a label was becoming “too complicated,” so the band signed on with Beggars Banquet Records. The National’s first release under the new label, Alligator, was immediately lauded by numerous publications as one of the best albums of the year in 2005.
The band continued its reign of critical success in 2007 with the full-length Boxer, which featured piano by Sufjan Stevens and orchestration by Padma Newsome. Boxer also proved to be the beginning of The National’s commercial recognition, as the album charted on the Billboard 200. The next year, The National released a string of B-sides interspersed with live material and remixes titled The Virginia EP. By this time, the band’s hits such as “Start a War” and “Fake Empire,” were being used for television shows and films. Furthermore, Boxer was hailed by numerous sources, including Pitchfork, as one of the best albums of the decade.
In 2010, The National released its fifth studio LP, High Violet. The album was immediately commercially and critically successful, debuting in the No. 3 position atop the U.S. charts and on various top 10 charts throughout the world. The National supported the album with late night television appearances and live performances. The National’s sixth full-length, Trouble Will Find Me, arrived in 2013, and proved to be one of the group’s most collaborative albums, including appearances from Sharon Van Etten, Sufjan Stevens, Nona Marie Invie, St. Vincent, Doveman and Richard Reed Perry of Arcade Fire.