The National to Play MusicNOW

In our local music column Spill It from the CityBeat issue out today, we announced the lineup for this year’s much anticipated MusicNOW festival, which includes a closing-night headlining appearance by Cincinnati-bred Indie music stars The National on May 15.

National guitarist Bryce Dessner is the brains behind MusicNOW, which began in 2006 and has featured unique performances by some of Indie music’s biggest names, as well as up-and-comers and those on the edgier fringe of modern Classical/Chamber music. Dessner’s Avant Chamber group Clogs has played the fest in the past, but this is The National’s first time at MusicNOW.—-

It will also be The National’s biggest hometown show to date, as the group plays Music Hall, right next to MusicNOW’s usual home (and still home base for this year’s fest’s first two dates), Memorial Hall. It’s a reflection on how big The National has become since forming over a decade ago and rising out of the music scene in New York (the members moved to the Big Apple from Cincinnati to launch the band) to become a literal global sensation. The group’s High Violet album entered the Billboard album charts at No. 3 when it came out last May and has sold around a half million copies worldwide. The National — tourmates with R.E.M. and The Arcade Fire, among others — is also a critic’s darling. High Violet received almost universal praise from seemingly ever press outlet that covers music.

Indie Folk singer/songwriter Sharon van Etten is on the Music Hall bill with The National May 15. The May 13 lineup features Shara Worden of My Brightest Diamond with yMusic, a modern Chamber ensemble (and MusicNOW alum) that has worked with the likes of Bjork, Peter Gabriel and David Byrne and will perform a commissioned piece in the name of late local SCPA student Esme Kennedy written by The Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry. MusicNOW’s May 14 lineup includes Owen Pallett (better known to Indie fans as Final Fantasy), Electronic musician Tim Hecker and Little Scream, a.k.a. Indie Folk singer/songwriter Laurel Sprengelmeyer.

Tickets go on sale very soon. Keep an eye on the MusicNOW site here for further announcements (including possible additions to the lineup). The past few years, MusicNOW has sold out, based on the reputations of both the bigger name acts booked, like Sufjan Stevens and Joanna Newsom, and the festival itself. With The National playing the 2011 edition, there’s a good chance that’ll happen again.

UPDATE: Tickets go on sale March 15 at 10 a.m. Tickets for the first two dates of the fest will be sold through Brown Paper Tickets (click here for the MusicNOW page), while tickets for The National at Music Hall will be available through the Cincinnati Arts Association's box office here.

North Carolina's eclectic, experimental Indie/Roots band Megafaun has been added to the May 13 lineup. The band will present its "Sounds of the South" piece, a collaboration with Virginian Jazz ensemble Fight the Big Bull that is based on American music archaeologist Alan Lomax's field recordings culled together in the late ’50s/early ’60s.

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