The first act to be announced for Mad Cool Festival 2019 is Brooklyn indie-rock outfit The National, a band that has risen to meteoric levels with each release to emerge as an era defining act. The group formed in New York in 1999 after making the move from Cincinnati, Ohio where singer Matt Berninger and Scott Devendorf had met at university. Flanked by Scott’s brother Bryan and friend Aaron Dessner it was shortly afterwards that Aaron’s twin brother Bryce joined the fold to form the quintet we know and love today.
After initially releasing music via small independents The National signed to Beggars Banquet and released ‘Alligator’ (2005), ‘Boxer’ (2007), ‘High Violet’ (2010), ‘Trouble Will Find Me’ (2013) and ‘Sleep Well Best’ (2017); a series of records with remarkable consistency that has seen the band crystalise their sound and carve out a place at music’s top-table. It’s no exaggeration to say The National are one of the pre-eminent American rock group of the last decade.
Their stunning live show has also contributed to them winning legions of fans around the world. They possess a unique ability to bring an intimate performance to the largest stages; enigmatic frontman Berninger performs with an intensity that recalls a Southern Baptist preacher undergoing an exorcism. In turn, their shows have silenced crowds numbering in the tens of thousands from a rowdy bunch into an almost religious reverence.
Their latest LP ‘Sleep Well Beast’ was released in 2017 and received widespread critical acclaim across the board, including taking home the Best Alternative Album gong at the Grammys.