“No shit... @warondrugsjams is everything that's right about rock n roll in 2012...or any year”
That’s the tweet I sent out between songs at the The War On Drugs in Charlottesville about a week and a half ago. It wasn’t the product of many beers, or some indie fanboy love of the band. It was the product of standing at the edge of the stage having one’s face consistently blown off by a group of musicians whose love for their craft apparently knows no bounds.
Slave Ambient topped most critics best of lists for 2011 (it narrowly missed ours) and it was well deserved. Andrew Granduciel’s intoxicating mix of Springsteen/Dylan-esque poetry with a veritable army of guitars that came directly from outer space proved to be a fuzzy, phasertastic island in a sea of twee that so much of modern indie music has become. In September of last year we managed to catch the band at DC’s The Red Palace, and while it was a stellar performance (and our introduction to the band Caveman no less), it was the last of the tour and the band was not only visibly exhausted but were playing in a room that was much MUCH smaller than they could/should have been playing in. As great as it was it definitely left us with the feeling that we might not have seen this band at their best.
Well, now we have, and I meant to tell you that make no mistake, this is the band you need to see in 2012.
I’ll post the setlist below to give you a loose idea of how things went down but it can be summed up thusly: Guitars, guitars and by the way...GUITARS. There’s a power to these songs that is ably implied on record, but the stage is where they are meant to live, and oh man do they ever. Delivered with so much force and uplifting power that Granduciel delivers most of his vocals while standing on his toes, the music of The War On Drugs transcends being merely about a song or a hit, and becomes a joyful thing that you can’t help but to participate in.
At the Jefferson Theater, shouts and bro-hugs and hoots and hollers tore through the room again and again as the band continued to assault higher and higher peaks. All the while Granduciel wore a permagrin that would not only do Wooderson proud (L-I-V-I-N!) but belied a true love for not only his instrument but the band, the audience, and music in general.
Right now you may be thinking I’m just tossing out broad generalizations, and you may be right, so I’ll just cut (back) to the chase:
Go see The War On Drugs now. In a year when I’ll likely see over 150 shows if I’m slacking, I can tell you right now that this is the one (or any performance from this band really) that’s going to come out on top in the end.
Goddamn this band is good. Goddamn.
Buenos aires beach
I was there
Your love is calling
Come to the city
Black water falls