State Theatre presents

The National

Summer 22

with very special guest Japanese Breakfast

Thu, July 21, 2022

Thompsons Point

Doors: 6:00pm - Show: 7:00pm - all ages

$51 advance
$55 day of show
Kids 3 and under are free

The Thompson’s Point Box Office opens at 3pm day of show. On-site parking is limited, buy in advance above. Free Valet Bike Parking will also be available. All Thompson’s Point shows are rain or shine.

Effective April 1, the State Theatre will no longer require proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test for patrons attending Thompsopn’s Point performances & events unless required by Artist, in which case we will post the requirement on the individual event page. Masks are optional unless required by Artist. It is important to check each event’s individual event page for updated COVID entry protocols before coming to the venue.

CLICK HERE for our full Health & Safety policy.

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The National

The National has partnered with PLUS1 so that $1 from each ticket will benefit the PLUS1 Ukraine Relief Fund, supporting the people of Ukraine through effective grassroots nonprofits providing humanitarian aid, refugee support, and access to critical information; and Buffalo String Works and their work to ignite personal and community leadership through accessible, youth-centered music education.


The National treat rock music as a salve. For over two decades, they’ve crafted songs that set out to navigate a hurting world, creating a space where dispirited souls can unite and raise a toast to another day. In that time, they’ve grown a lot as artists and songwriters, evolving from an underdog indie outfit into one of the most adventurous and influential bands of our time, with an impact that’s reverberated through the worlds of alternative rock, avant- garde classical composition, and even Top 40 pop (not to mention the campaign of at least one former president).

Remarkably, The National survived the rollercoaster ride from dive bars to festival-headliner slots with their original lineup intact. They’re a band of brothers in the figurative and literal sense, with enigmatic yet charismatic lead singer, Matt Berninger flanked by: Aaron and Bryce Dessner, the gifted multi-instrumentalists who provide dreamy texture and cinematic sweep; and Scott and Bryan Devendorf, the telepathic rhythm section that drives the songs to their dramatic peaks. Though they all hail from Cincinnati, The National officially came together in Brooklyn in 1999, just as the borough was becoming the new epicenter for underground rock. Compared to the then-fashionable, post-punk sounds peddled by their peers, the artful Americana of The National’s first two albums — 2001’s self-titled debut and 2003’s Sad Songs for Dirty Lovers — positioned them as outsiders to a scene of outsiders.

But with 2005’s Alligator, The National started to connect with a wider audience of fellow forlorn romantics. Word spread of their electrifying live shows, which often found Berninger’s tightly coiled intensity manifesting in unpredictable ways, whether he was swimming through the crowd or climbing venue walls. In 2007, Boxer arrived with a set of tragic and triumphant hymns that both tapped into the unsettled tenor of life during the Iraq war and hinted at a cautious hope that a better world could emerge. Among them was the immortal “Fake Empire,” a song that would eventually soundtrack Barack Obama’s march to The White House in a 2008 campaign ad.

Over the next decade, The National only seemed to grow more popular the more they expanded their sound. Released in 2010, the widescreen High Violet was the first of their albums to hit the top 5 in the U.S. and around the world. Meanwhile, 2013’s moody and majestic Trouble Will Find Me scored them their first Grammy nomination for Best Alternative Music Album. Debuting at no. 2 on the Billboard charts, 2017’s Sleep Well Beast continued The National’s masterful tightrope walk between anthemic accessibility and intricate rhythmic experimentation, earning them a Grammy Award for Best Alternative Music Album. The follow-up, 2019’s I Am Easy to Find, was given an elaborate multimedia treatment, incorporating a short film made by Academy Award- nominated director Mike Mills and starring Oscar-winning actress Alicia Vikander.

But The National’s official discography only tells part of their story. The band’s extracurricular activities form a dense ecosystem of solo releases (like Berninger’s 2020 effort, Serpentine Prison), side projects (see the Devendorf brothers’ avant-rock supergroup lnzndrf), film scores (Bryce’s Grammy- nominated score for The Revenant), charitable initiatives (the 7- inches for Planned Parenthood single series), and even collaborative online music portals (37d03d.com, a.k.a. PEOPLE). And in the summer of 2020, Aaron brought The National’s atmospheric aesthetic into the heart of the mainstream when he was tapped to co-produce Taylor Swift’s Album of the Year Grammy winner Folklore and its companion release, Evermore, which featured the band and a vocal duet with Berninger on the wistful serenade “Coney Island.” It was a surprising-yet-fitting cap to The National’s first two decades. This is, after all, a band that’s never compromised its sound to actively court a wider audience. Through patience and purity of vision, the world came to them.

Japanese Breakfast

From the moment she began writing her new album, Japanese Breakfast’s Michelle Zauner knew that she wanted to call it Jubilee. After all, a jubilee is a celebration of the passage of time—a festival to usher in the hope of a new era in brilliant technicolor. Zauner’s first two albums garnered acclaim for the way they grappled with anguish; Psychopomp was written as her mother underwent cancer treatment, while Soft Sounds From Another Planet took the grief she held from her mother‘s death and used it as a conduit to explore the cosmos. Now, at the start of a new decade, Japanese Breakfast is ready to fight for happiness, an all-too-scarce resource in our seemingly crumbling world.

How does she do it? With a joyful noise. From pulsing walls of synthgaze and piano on “Sit,” to the nostalgia-laden strings that float through “Tactics,” Jubilee bursts with the most wide-ranging arrangements of Zauner’s career. Each song unfurls a new aspect of her artistry: “Be Sweet,” co-written with Wild Nothing’s Jack Tatum, is a jagged, propulsive piece of ‘80s pop that’s followed by a sweetly melancholic ballad in “Kokomo, IN.” As she rides a crest of saxophones and synthesizers through “Slide Tackle,” a piece of nimble pop-funk run through a New Order lens, Zauner professes her desire to move forward: “I want to be good—I want to navigate this hate in my heart somewhere better.”

In the years leading up to Jubilee, Zauner also took theory lessons and studied piano in earnest for the first time, in an effort to improve her range as a songwriter: “I’ve never wanted to rest on any laurels. I wanted to push it as far as it could go, inviting more people in and pushing myself as a composer, a producer, an arranger.” She pours that sentiment into the album from the very beginning, weaving a veritable tapestry of sound on the opening track “Paprika.” To build such an anthem of self-actualization, Zauner maxed out the technical limits of her recording rig, expelling her anxieties and egoism with layers upon layers of triumphant horns and marching snares. “How’s it feel to be at the center of magic? To linger in tones and words?” she ponders, conjuring the widescreen majesty of Kate Bush. “I opened the floodgates and found no water, no current, no river, no rush!”

Later, on “Savage Good Boy”—a kooky, terrifyingly prophetic jam co-produced with (Sandy) Alex G—Zauner reduces the excess of modern capitalism to an emotional level, sarcastically imagining the perspective of a billionaire trying to convince his lover to join him underground as the apocalypse unfolds. “I want to make the money until there’s no more to be made/And we will be so wealthy, I’m absolved from questioning/That all my bad behavior was just a necessary strain/They’re the stakes in a race to win.”

“I don’t want to weave politics into my music in a way that feels cheap, but I couldn’t make something that doesn’t comment on the reality we live in,” says Zauner. “I think that you need to push yourself to care, and that’s part of what this album is about: If you want change, in anything, you need to go to war for it.”

At the end comes “Posing for Cars,” one of the longest, most visceral Japanese Breakfast songs to date. In its muted opening, Zauner quietly re-embraces impassioned facets of youth—wistful daydreaming, fierce loyalty—atop a bed of slowly-strummed guitars. Those same feelings pour out of her fingertips as she erupts into a cathartic, nearly three-minute-long solo to close out the record, with gradual swells of distortion that evoke the arena-sized guitars of bands like Wilco or Sonic Youth.

Jubilee is an album about processing life and love in the quest for happiness, and how that process sometimes requires us to step outside of ourselves. “Savage Good Boy” isn’t the only time Zauner takes on a persona; On the cavernous masterpiece “Posing In Bondage,” she imagines a woman left behind in the confines of an empty house, traversing the blurred lines between domesticity and dominance as she sings to an absent lover. Meanwhile, “Kokomo, IN” was written from the perspective of a small- town Indiana boy, forced to say goodbye to a girlfriend who’s shipping off to study abroad. But throughout Jubilee, Zauner is hardly fictionalizing her lyrics, instead pouring her own life into the universe of each song to tell real stories, and allowing those universes, in turn, to fill in the details. Joy, change, evolution—these things take real time, and real effort. And Japanese Breakfast is here for it.