Sydney – Wednesday 23 August, 2017. Four years after their legendary Forecourt appearances, cult US rock band The National return this summer to again play in the shadow of the Sydney Opera House sails.
The band will take over the Opera House Forecourt on Wednesday 21 February 2018 as part of a world tour that began with a “triumphant” (NME) appearance at Glastonbury and will include headlining Pitchfork Music Festival Paris.
The tour supports the release of Sleep Well Beast, the band’s long-awaited seventh studio album, the first single from which, The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness, has already cracked Billboard’s number one spot. “We’ve learned to destroy our stuff and throw it away,” frontman and songwriter Matt Berninger told NME recently. “We’ve become much more reckless. It’s been really liberating.”
Conceived in Ohio and cemented in New York, the quintet have gone from playing lo-fi lounge shows on the Lower East Side to headlining summer festivals and presidential rallies (Obama), yielding a back catalogue that will be on full display in February, from their eponymous 2001 masterpiece – which spawned classics such as American Mary and Beautiful Head – through Alligator, Boxer and High Violet to 2013’s hugely successful Trouble Will Find Me.
"As an independent promoter and music lover in the 2000s, I heard Alligator and fell down a rabbit hole from which I've never completely emerged," said Ben Marshall, Head of Contemporary Music at Sydney Opera House. "From presenting their first Australian tour in 2008 to welcoming them to the Opera House steps in 2014, I've never ceased to to be deeply emotionally compelled by their profoundly beautiful and rigorously constructed work.
"They are funny and mordant, euphoric and melancholic and I love them.
"This is what the grandest stage in the city is for – The National in summer in Sydney. Welcome back."
“Near perfection,” The Guardian said of their 2014 Opera House shows, which were live-streamed to thousands of viewers and confirmed the Forecourt as Sydney’s grandest stage for contemporary music. “Berninger’s unmistakable baritone carried across the foreshore, the wide stone steps and up into the famous sails.” Next year’s show promises to be just as monumental.