War on Drugs at the Vogue Vancouver-May 24


WarOnDrugs-13-1Photo courtesy of  Charles Steinberg 

The War on Drugs sold out show at the Vogue completely fulfilled this highly anticipated occasion. The Sunday night concert was packed solid with a wholesome, respectful and noticeably appreciative crowd. The Philadelphia based six piece shoe gaze-indie rock band seems to have perfected the art of a set list. Fans politely yet anxiously waited in their tiny velvet seats watching the elaborate stage set up becoming designed. Some kind of ecstatic accord happened when the band began performing. They started with “Under the Pressure”, the first song on their widely successful latest album Lost in the Dream. The band has three great albums under their belt but Lost in The Dream have put them on the international map and is a sonic work of art.

Front man Adam Granduciel is the primary songwriter who wails the guitar and sings like a dusty angel. His presence on stage is electric and the band is completely in sync. Their songs have an appeasing hormonic and psychedelic quality to them but that isn’t to say they are not complicated. Granduciel shared kindly with me the following day that each song requires complex looper techniques, specific instrumental equipment and a venue that provides rich sound quality. However, the music remains weightless and delightfully enigmatic to listeners, some may even call it “trippy”.

Each song performed seemed to melt into the next, perpetually creating a stronger and more powerful concert. Songs from each album were consciously placed and skillfully selected which made for an excellent flow. Granduciel’s guitar solo’s are iconic to watch yet remain tasteful, this was made most obvious with their hit “Red Eyes” which contains a heart breaking crescendo that was gracefully performed.  The audience melted into each song; clapping when not required, closing eyes and singing along. Even band members seemed hypnotized as they played these wonderfully written songs with notable sensitivity. I didn’t witness a single person in this well suited heritage venue who wasn’t entranced by this mesmerizing show. The concert was finalized by my personal favourite track “Come to the City”  from Slave Ambient which is completely shattering live.

As I am not fond of encores I snuck out on this perfect note and witnessed the incredible Dan Bejar (Destroyer) outside who was visually moved by this performance and evidently also not fond of encores. That memorable instant has officially become one of my favourite moments in the chronicles of concert moments. This moment was especially powerful as it was after an unforgettable, hypnotic and stunning performance by the incredible War on Drugs.







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