Coming home: The National returns this fall to celebrate 2 musical milestones

The National is hosting their very own music festival this fall called Homecoming Cincinnati.
The National is hosting their very own music festival this fall called Homecoming Cincinnati.(The National)
Published: Jul. 17, 2023 at 10:38 PM EDT
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CINCINNATI (WXIX) - A popular rock band full of Cincinnati natives, known as The National, is returning home for their very own two-day-long music festival in September.

Named after the band themselves, The National: Homecoming Festival will feature multiple musicians and artists, including Patti Smith and The Walkmen, leading up to two legendary performances on Sept. 15 and 16.

The five-man group announced Tuesday that they will be headlining the Homecoming Festival and performing their albums High Violet on Friday and Trouble Will Find Me on Saturday in full at the ICON Festival Stage at Smale Park.

“At Homecoming 2020 we’d planned to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of High Violet by performing it from beginning to end,” The National wrote. “Unfortunately, the pandemic prevented that from being realized. This year, Trouble Will Find Me reached the same 10-year milestone. To celebrate, at Homecoming 2023 we will perform both.”

In a Pitchfork Album Review, High Violet is described as an “emotionally engaging rock” and “darker” record.

The album features a bit of melodramatic songs, including “Bloodbuzz Ohio,” a song about longing for home in a drunken state, but not having much of a positive connection to it.

Other hit songs and fan-favorites on High Violet:

  • “Conversation 16″
  • “Runaway”
  • “Sorrow”
  • “Afraid of Everyone”
  • “Lemonworld”

The National’s sixth album, Trouble Will Find Me, made Billboard 200 charts in 2013 and was nominated for Best Alternative Music Album at the 56th Grammy Awards.

Pitchfork called the album one of the band’s “funniest and most self-referential” record in reference to the song “Demons.”

One Trouble Will Find Me song that has continued to be popular amongst listeners is “I Need My Girl,” which currently has over 148 million Spotify listens.

This year will mark the record’s 10-year anniversary.

The lineup for Friday and Saturday

Friday, Sept. 15 - High Violet

  • Patti Smith & Her Band
  • The Walkmen
  • Arooj Aftab
  • Bartees Strange
  • Carriers
  • Ballard

Saturday, Sept. 16 - Trouble Will Find Me

  • Pavement
  • Weyes Blood
  • Snail Mail
  • Julia Jacklin
  • The Drin
  • Leo Pastel

To buy tickets to the show, visit the link here.

A brief synopsis of The National & their connections to Cincinnati

Bandmates Aaron Dessner, Bryce Dessner, Matt Berninger, Scott Devendorf and Bryan Devendorf all grew up in Cincinnati performing in various bands and music groups throughout their lifetimes. It was not until 1999 (or the 21st century for Bryce) for the Queen City-natives to come together.

The Dessner twins attended Cincinnati Country Day and were childhood friends with the Devendorf brothers, specifically Bryan, who went to Turpin High School. When college quickly approached, Scott went to the University of Cincinnati with Berninger, the lead singer of The National, who graduated from St. Xavier High School.

While at UC, Scott, Berninger and several other classmates formed a band, which eventually fell apart after the two moved to Brooklyn, New York.

Aaron, Bryce and Bryan also formed a band, called Project Nim, which also ended.

Thanks to Berlinger’s connection with the Devendorfs, an opportunity opened up to form a new band with Aaron, becoming what is now known today as The National.

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