The War on Drugs formed in 2005 in Philadelphia, a city famed for doo-wop music and smooth pop, not the eclectic, neopsychedelic sounds of this indie rock band. Their first album, 2008’s well-received Wagonwheel Blues, is a collection of home recordings and bits of sound set to a mesmerizing beat and a driving rhythm guitar that create a whole greater than the sum of its part. The nasal twang and folksy cadence of Adam Graduciel’s voice gives many of their songs the feel of Bob Dylan fronting The Byrds. Although Pitchfork Media awarded Wagonwheel Blues its New Music Award, it failed to chart, The War on Drugs’ second effort, the surprisingly uplifting Slave Ambient, went all the way to number four on the Billboard 200. The twelve-track album became a critical darling, and several singles, including Baby Missiles and Come to the City, proved to be fan favorites. The War on Drugs’ third release, Lost in the Dream, reflects the loneliness of life on the road. It proved to be a big hit in the United Kingdom, peaking at number two on the charts, and saw the single Red Eyes get significant US and worldwide airplay. Spin magazine named Lost in the Dream the best album of 2014. Their repeated brushes with success, inventive instrumentals, and gutsy studio choices have at last landed The War on Drugs on a major label pushing the group toward bigger, if no less dedicated audiences. The group’s grittier lyrics, so often reminiscent of a streetwise and hungry Bruce Springsteen, match up perfectly with their post-punk approach to music, making The War on Drugs a solid touring act on the indie rock scene.
The War On Drugs 2015 Tour
As might be expected from their name, The War on Drugs puts on a trippy, psychedelic light and sound extravaganza during their 2015 tour. Mostly working clubs and small theaters in several big cities gives this post-punk band a chance to fill the room and connect with their audience, though The War on Drugs will be hitting a few impressive stages on this tour, including Radio City Music Hall. There is a sense that The War on Drugs is about to hit the big time as they move on to a major label, and catching a band in its ascendancy is a heady experience. This tour is no exception. Containing the talent of big-name draws while playing small venues gives The War on Drugs a chance to pack a powerful punch on several of their fans’ concert favorites, from An Ocean in Between the Waves to Red Eyes. The War on Drugs puts on a show similar in appearance and ambience to an early ‘70s Jackson Browne or Tom Petty on the verge of stardom, possibly giving their 2015 audiences the chance to say they saw them when.