Homecoming — The National Hosts Inaugural 2-day Music Festival in Cincinnati

CINCINNATI — Indie rock giants The National returned to their stomping grounds to host the inaugural two-day Homecoming music festival this weekend at Smale Park with Feist, Big Thief, Father John Misty as well as other emerging rock and alternative artists.

Along with Wilco, Bon Iver and The Decemberists, The National is part of a growing wave of indie rock artists who are curating their own music festivals for fans. It’s a way to provide music lovers with a more intimate experience in comparison to the larger likes of Coachella, Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza.

Homecoming truly felt like The National had returned to their roots with two special performances each night. Saturday’s set featured selections from “Sleep Well Beast,” “Trouble Will Find Me,” “High Violet” and “Alligator.” Sunday’s set featured 2007’s “Boxer” in its entirety and the debut of the band’s newest song, “Light Years.”

Bryce and Aaron Dessner also treated fans to a special performance at the Cincinnati Masonic Center Friday night to demonstrate their guitar prowess as part of Red Bird Hollow and celebrate the release of German electronic duo Mouse on Mars’ latest album, “Dimensional People.”

Lisa Hannigan, Spank Rock, Sam Amidon and Kristin Anna joined the Dessner twins and Mouse on Mars to kick off the first night of the festival.

Fans also enjoyed riveting performances by Lord Huron, Julien Baker, Future Islands, Moses Sumney, Alvvays and other talented artists.

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Eaux Claires Day 2 Celebrates Music of Wilco, Paul Simon

Jeff Tweedy performs with Wilco at Eaux Claires.

Eaux Claires attendees battled intermittent heavy showers and the looming threat of severe weather to see Wilco, Paul Simon, Feist and other artists at day 2 of Eaux Claires.

Wilco played for nearly two hours despite Eaux Claires organizers moving the band’s set up in anticipation of severe thunderstorms. Main stage artists continued to perform while side stage acts were cancelled.

The distant lightning served as the perfect backdrop for one of Wilco’s most ominous songs, “Via Chicago,” which starts with a dark lyric, “I dreamed about killing you against last night.”

“We’re usually playing outside when it’s sunny, and this song really bums people out, but this is f**king perfect,” said Jeff Tweedy, Wilco’s frontman, regarding “Via Chicago,” from the band’s 1999 album, “Summerteeth.”

Wilco guitarist Nels Cline played an exquisite extended guitar solo during “Impossible Germany,” while fans relished singing along with the band to “Jesus, Etc.” and “I Am Trying to Break Your Heart.”

Before Wilco took the stage as the night’s headliner, Paul Simon played a 60-minute set with yMusic, a New York City-based chamber ensemble.

Paul Simon reimagines Simon & Garfunkel classics with yMusic.

Together, Simon and yMusic put a refreshing classical spin on “America,” “Mrs. Robinson,” The Boxer” and “Sound of Silence.” Their show was worth the wait after heavy rains delayed Simon and yMusic’s new set time by about 30 minutes.

“It’s really a good omen when the crowd is wet and shivering, but the performers are dry,” Simon said to a drenched Eaux Claires crowd.

Before Simon took the stage, Feist played her new album, “Pleasure,” in its entirety for festival attendees earlier that evening. Wearing a bright pink dress with ruffles and strumming her guitar in front of an electronic fan, Feist made her live performance a pleasurable one for fans.

“For two years now, I’ve heard about you guys, and so today, we would like to do something special just for us to share this moment together in honor of these incredible clouds,” Feist said.

In the afternoon, attendees danced to the party rap and club music of Baltimore-based Spank Rock, who traded jabs on stage with Amanda Blank and opened and closed his set with the Midnite Express, a Native American musical troupe.

Other day 2 festival highlights included Appalachian-style folk music from Mountain Man, which features Sylvan Esso’s Amelia Meath, Molly Sarle and Alexandra Sauser-Monnig, and the indie pop of Perfume Genius.

‘Troix’ – Justin Vernon, Aaron Dessner Announce Eclectic Lineup for Third Installment of Eaux Claires

Justin Vernon, left, and Aaron Dessner perform during a Day of the Dead celebration at the second Eaux Claires festival in August 2016.

It’s time to return to the river in June.

The Stratton Setlist will attend the third installment of Eaux Claires, a two-day music festival curated by Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon and The National’s Aaron Dessner.

Known as “Troix,” the Eau Claire, Wisc.-based music festival announced its eclectic lineup of musical legends, indie rockers and emerging artists Thursday for the June 16-17 event at Foster Farms along the Chippewa River.

The lineup includes Bon Iver presenting John Prine & The American Songbook, which will feature several special guests paying tribute to country/folk singer-songwriter.

Another festival highlight will include Paul Simon collaborating with chamber ensemble yMusic to reinterpret his iconic songs with contemporary classical music.

The lineup also features Feist, Sylvan Esso, Wilco, Tweedy, Chance The Rapper, Danny Brown, Perfume Genius, This Is The Kit and more.

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