Matt Berninger and The National to play Joe’s Field at Mass MoCA in June

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Mass MoCA has reportedly had their eye on The National since 1999, the same year they flung open their doors. Since then, the Ohio-raised, Brooklyn-based band, which consists of vocalist Matt Berninger, plus two pairs of brothers: Aaron Dessner (guitar, bass, piano) and Bryce Dessner (guitar), and Scott Devendorf (bass, guitar) and Bryan Devendorf (drums), have landed on every “best of” list in print.

The band’s half dozen albums receive critical praise surpassed only by the adoration of their devoted audience. Rolling Stone declares, “The National has always been fueled by a mix of big-time artistic ambitions and deep-rooted family values.” The band is in North Adams on Saturday, June 11, at 8pm, in its only northeast headline show in all of 2016.

In its 16-year career, The National has carved out a signature sound for itself in an environment of endless indie rock bands. Refusing to subscribe to the trendy genres of the moment, buzz is focused solely on The National’s music. The band got its start in 1991, when Matt Berninger and Scott Devendorf majored in graphic design at the University of Cincinnati, where they together spearheaded a series of experimental bands.

In 2001, their latest band, The National (comprised of Berninger, brothers, Scott and Bryan Devendorf, and Aaron Dessner), released its self-titled debut album on Brassland Records, an independent record label founded by Dessner and his twin brother, Bryce. Bryce eventually joined the band as full member in 2003, for The National’s follow-up album, Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers. In early 2016, the band will release a much-hyped Grateful Dead tribute album, with contributions from Bon Iver, Sharon Van Etten, the War on Drugs, and Stephen Malkmus.

The group’s longevity is largely due to the consistency in sound across its six albums. Berninger’s now trademark vocals are instantly recognizable for a dry baritone that provides sincere honesty to poetic lyrics. Over the group’s enduring career, lyrical dexterity has remained steadfast, tackling themes of American anxiety such as white-collar work, crumbling relationships, and general paranoia. These dark, tension-filled words combine seamlessly with lush and alluring melodies that swell and crash around Berninger’s vocals.

The National’s star truly started to rise with the release of the 2005 album, Alligator, where the band started openly experimenting more with instrumentation. With each album, the band grows more ambitious, more aware and subsequently, more successful. Much of The National’s success is due to its textbook-indie approach: release strong albums and then tour tirelessly around the globe with exacting and mesmerizing performances. Through its tenure, the band has attracted a who’s who of collaborators, such as Justin Vernon, Sufjan Stevens, and Feist.

The National is co-presented with Higher Ground Presents, Burlington, Vermont.

Pre-sale tickets for the June 11 concert are available beginning December 17, with general tickets on sale Friday, December 18.

On the heels of announcing a landmark benefit concert at MASS MoCA, the band’s only Northeast headline appearance in 2016, The National announces today a pre-show cocktail reception to further support Hawthorne Valley Association, and the museum.

Drinks with The National takes place before the concert from 5pm to 7pm. Tickets could be $49 in advance. This pre-show cocktail party hosted by members of the band features Hawthorne Valley Farm fare and other local foods, farm-to-tap beer, Berkshire Mountain Distillers spirits, and a behind-the-scenes tour of MASS MoCA. Cocktail party tickets also include reserved standing-room, adjacent to the soundboard.

The National takes the outside stage on Joe’s Field, MASS MoCA’s largest venue, in North Adams, Massachusetts on Saturday, June 11, at 8pm. Pre-sale tickets for both the concert and the cocktail party are available to artist fan club and MASS MoCA members, Higher Ground subscribers and Hawthorne Valley supporters on Thursday, December 17, at 11am. General audience tickets for both events go on sale Friday, December 18, at 11am. Tickets to the cocktail reception, which include premium, reserved standing-room adjacent to the concert soundboard, are $250. General admission concert tickets are $49. All proceeds benefit Hawthorne Valley Association and MASS MoCA. The National is co-presented by Higher Ground Presents, Burlington, Vermont.

About Hawthorne Valley Association

Hawthorne Valley was founded in 1971 by a pioneering group of Waldorf teachers and Biodynamic farmers who were concerned with the future of small and midsize independent farms as well as the need to provide children from urban environments with meaningful opportunities to connect to nature, agriculture and vocational activities. Inspired by the work of Rudolf Steiner, Hawthorne Valley Association seeks to promote social and cultural renewal through the integrations of education, agriculture and the arts by engaging a mix of cultural and economic endeavors. Among its numerous dynamic programs, the association includes Hawthorne Valley Farm, a 400-acre biodynamic farm with a dairy herd, creamery, CSA, natural foods store, organic bakery, a sauerkraut cellar, summer camp programs and a Farm Learning Center, and Hawthorne Valley Waldorf School, a nursery through grade 12 independent day school. For additional information visit hawthornevalleyassociation.org.

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