The War on Drugs: A Good Trip

Article/Photography by Kate Brooks-Heinimann

Saturday night’s gig at the Biltmore Cabaret featured the Philadelphia-based indie rock band The War On Drugs. Having never had the opportunity to see the band live before, let alone a show at the Biltmore, I have to say their show made for a lasting impression and a great introduction.

The Biltmore was chock full of fans, almost too packed. But what else can be expected at a sold out show? There was enough room for a few impromptu dance parties near the side-lines, but good luck at getting front and centre — people were squished like sardines. The sound travelled clearly throughout the venue, so those choosing to lay low and casually observe from the outskirts, easily heard it all.

A band that has constantly been on road and touring for two years, it is hard to believe Adam Granduciel, lead singer and guitarist, made time to record their third album ‘Lost in the Dream’. The set list at the Biltmore included all of the songs off the new album. Overall, the performance sounded like a psychedelic throw back to an 80‘s version of Bruce Springsteen. And their slower, more melodic tunes, such as ‘Suffering‘ and ‘The Haunting Idle‘ created a contemplative mellow atmosphere. There was no rowdiness and no drama. The atmosphere was positive, but after being bumped into more than just a few times, the “packed like sardines” analogy started to really take its toll.

More than once, the lead singer and guitarist, Adam Granduciel, engaged with the audience: “Any song requests?” He was also kind enough to dedicate a tune to the band touring with them, The White Laces. Overall, the show kept the audience fully engaged, happy and wanting more. To any Canadian fans living in Toronto: be sure to catch them next month before they leave North America and begin their European leg.

The War on Drugs played at the Biltmore Cabaret on Saturday March 29th, they will sit for an interview on CBC’s “Q” with Jian Ghomeshi on Tuesday the 15th of April, Listen to the interveiw here: