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The War on Drugs have always possessed a certain level of freewheeling buoyancy. Their 2008 debut, Wagonwheel Blues, showcased vigorous scope and envious enthusiasm that saturated the record from beginning to end. Follow up efforts Future Weather and Slave Ambient continued to display the band’s expanding sonic palette, full of brighter pastiches of style and almost whispered harmonies.
Their latest record, Lost in the Dream, is a jarring, charging union of both worlds: slow and stunning meditation underscored by impeccable craftsmanship. Their show in Boston at the Paradise Rock Club this past Thursday was the perfect platform to appease fans that were insatiable for the band’s live offerings.
Between gentle thickets of echoing guitars, frontman Adam Granduciel shredded melodically as The War On Drugs performed “Under the Pressure” as their first song of the evening (which happens to be the opening track from Dream). He rolled through a string of hits like “Baby Missiles,” “Comin’ Through,” “Arms Like Boulders,” and “Brothers.” But newer songs like “Red Eyes,” “Suffering,” “Eyes to the Wind,” and “Disappearing” had no problem captivating already enthralled concert-goers.
Granduciel seemed equally captivated by Boston. He has memories here, which he gleefully reflected on sporadically throughout the set. Whether it was working in the Boston College bookstore during the mid 90s or the simple joys of riding the T, the smile that beamed from his face when telling these stories only grew larger when he pointed out his parents in the audience. After the show, he retreated to a small corner in the venue to be surrounded by his loved ones. The irony was, however, that he was in a sold out venue of them the entire night.
Photo by Ben Stas