The National threw their own festival, Homecoming, for the first time ever this past weekend in their former hometown of Cincinnati (in association with MusicNOW). It was two days and The National headlined both of them, joined both nights by past collaborator Lisa Hannigan and additional drummer Ben Sloan, and also joined on night two by Jan St. Werner of Mouse on Mars (whose new album Dimensional People features members of The National). Night two also saw The National performing Boxer (which turned 10 last year) in full, and debuting the new piano ballad "Light Years." Both sets also featured tons of career-spanning favorites (night one was a bit heavier on their latest Sleep Well Beast). Here's part of The Columbus Dispatch's review of day one:

Like a couple of homesick college freshmen, The National were giddy to be home for the weekend.

“I found a spot where I barfed 25, 30 years ago,” said lead singer Matt Berninger, pointing to a spot on the grass at Smale Riverfront Park in Cincinnati, the site of The National’s inaugural Homecoming Festival that started Friday and ends today.

Berninger, a force of energy whose awkward interpretive dance moves and corny jokes stood in opposition to his deep-throated yowling, seemed giddy to be playing in his birthplace.

After jumping into the crowd during early song “Sea of Love,” he hoisted himself back onstage, completely out of breath.

“Could someone wipe the mud off my mom’s butt?” he asked the audience. “I knocked her into a mud puddle.”

Watch videos and see the setlists of The National's two sets, including the debut of the new song, below. Pictures of their sets are in the gallery above.

The National have several other tour dates coming up, and they're also throwing a two-day mini fest at Forest Hills Stadium in Queens called "There's No Leaving New York." That happens September 29 and 30 with Cat Power, Jason Isbell, Future Islands, U.S. Girls, Phoebe Bridgers, and more (win tickets).

The National at Homecoming night one (via)
Nobody Else Will Be There (with Lisa Hannigan)
Don't Swallow the Cap
Guilty Party (Ben Sloan on drums)
I Should Live in Salt
Sea of Love
Afraid of Everyone (with Lisa Hannigan)
Dark Side of the Gym (with Lisa Hannigan)
I Need My Girl (with Lisa Hannigan)
This Is the Last Time (with Lisa Hannigan)
Wasp Nest
All the Wine
Secret Meeting
Empire Line
Carin at the Liquor Store
Day I Die (Ben Sloan on drums)

Rylan (Ben Sloan on drum)
Bloodbuzz Ohio (Ben Sloan on drums)
Mr. November (Ben Sloan on drums)
Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks (Acoustic, unplugged, crowd singalong)

The National at Homecoming night two (via)
Fake Empire
Mistaken for Strangers
Squalor Victoria (with Ben Sloan)
Green Gloves (with Lisa Hannigan)
Slow Show (with Lisa Hannigan) (and Ben Sloan)
Apartment Story
Start a War (with Ben Sloan)
Guest Room (with Ben Sloan)
Racing Like a Pro
Ada (with Sufjan Stevens “Chicago” horn snippet)
The System Only Dreams in Total Darkness
Walk It Back (with Jan St. Werner) (and Ben Sloan)
I'll Still Destroy You (with Jan St. Werner) (and Ben Sloan)
The Geese of Beverly Road
Conversation 16
Pink Rabbits

Light Years (live debut)
Born to Beg (with Lisa Hannigan)
Terrible Love (with Ben Sloan)
About Today (with Ben Sloan)


photos by Andy Vinson, Cora Wagoner, Eli Johnson, and Twin Spire Photography, courtesy of Homecoming Festival

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