“This thing isn’t about endurance,” says Matt Berninger, the front man for the National. “It’s about the Zen state that you can get into with sound and music.”
Tomorrow, the American indie-rockers will perform their song Sorrow for six hours straight at New York’s MoMA PS1. It is an experiment on repetitive performance as sculpture, as conceived by Icelandic artist Ragnar Kjartansson.
Notable live rock indulgences of the past include Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Free Bird, the Allman Brothers’ Whipping Post and Santana’s elongated Woodstock rendition of Soul Sacrifice.
Of course nothing outdid the mind-numbing marathon of In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida by Iron Butterfly, the heavy psychedelians who worked exclusively in sludge.
In contrast, the National’s Sorrow is a morose but soothing drone, carried by Berninger‘s love-it-or-hate-it baritone.
“The experience will be something like what you would do with a mantra or a prayer,” explains the singer. The non fans at MoMa might agree, pleading “please, lord, make it end.”