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The National at Masonic Temple, 3 Things To Know

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

Posted: Saturday, October 7, 2017

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“Sleep Well Beast” has become a kind of lucky No. 7 for the National.

The Cincinnati-formed indie rock group’s, yes, seventh album set career-high chart positions around the world, including a No. 2 debut on the Billboard 200 and No. 1 showings in the U.K., Canada, Ireland and Portugal. It also spawned the chart-topping radio hit “The System Only Dreams In Total Darkness” and has received rave reviews since its early September release.

All of that has turned the National’s current tour into both victory lap and promotional vehicle for the album...

• The National came into “Sleep Well Beast” following 2013’s “Trouble Will Find Me” -- up to then the group’s most successful effort, with a Grammy Award nomination for Best Alternative Music Album. But drummer Bryan Devendorf says that didn’t bring any addition pressure to the making of the new album. “Think we had that experience recording (2007’s) ‘Boxer,” the drummer says by phone. “I felt like on that one there was a lot of individual pressure we put on ourselves. There’s always pressure because you want to make something good, and I do care deeply about how the music is received. But now we’re more concerned about things we can control -- like recording, where we have total control. We didn’t have outside voices telling us what to do. Nothing ever pressured us in anyway way, no manager or label person telling us to change anything. That way it’s all on us, which is better.”

• The reception for “Sleep Well Beast,” both commercially and critically, has buoyed the quintet as it’s hit the road this year. “It’s awesome. Of course we’re stoked,” says Devendorf, 42. “That means we’re selling records, which is hard to do these days. At this point in time anything that happens to us is just luck. All we can do is the best music we can make, and I think we’ve just had more time we’ve been able to experiment and develop, which is rare in the world of labels. We’ve been able to grow and develop, so it hasn’t been about the bottom line and there isn’t that kind of profit pressure -- so lo and behold we’re No. 1 in the U.K. for a week.

• The National’s lineup boasts two sets of siblings -- Devendorf and his brother Scott and twins Aaron and Bryce Dessner -- and their relationships differ, according to the drummer. “We grew up in the same town, so we share a similar sensibility in that regard,” Devendorf says. “(The Dessners) are more competitive, in a healthy way. They always push each other and grow. They deeply care for each other and they have each other’s back, but they’re just more competitive with each other, I think. My brother and I just get off on funny YouTube videos and listen to music. We don’t really write together; We have a band called LNZNDRF that’s more of like an improvisational thing, so that’s easier than if we were sitting down to hash out parts and makes songs together like (the Dessners) do.”

If You Go:

• The National and Daughter

• 8 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 8.

• Masonic Temple Theatre, 500 Temple St., Detroit.

• Tickets are $40.50-$51.

• Call 313-638-2724 or visit themasonic.com.

Web Site: www.themasonic.com

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