The War On Drugs Shines on Its Tour of Duty

Brooklyn Bowl, April 11

Patrick Gray / Kabik Photo Group

The Golden Knights may have won their first playoff game ever while The War On Drugs launched into the burly drums of “Brothers,” but that didn’t seem to bother the hundreds at Brooklyn Bowl who were treated to bonafide rock royalty.

Riding high off a Grammy win for 2017’s A Deeper Understanding, the Philadelphia sextet demonstrated their musical prowess by fusing their slow-burning cuts from that album with extensive improvisation. The result: A dynamic set with enough layers to please the snobbiest audiophiles. Slower songs such as “Strangest Thing” and “Up All Night” drifted into krautrock territory with instrumental jams that saw the band exploring the extent of their chord progressions. This was especially true when the band dove into a massive, impromptu five-minute build-up during “In Chains.”

Singer/guitarist Adam Granduciel led the band in drawn-out, cathartic, melodic bliss. He served as the conductor for an orchestra of effects pedals that formed a semicircle around him. “Who was at Beauty Bar in 2009?,” he asked. “We’ve grown a bit since then.” Granduciel was reminiscent of a young Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine in terms of style and stature, and he played the role of quiet genius, nodding his head and smiling while riffing through the noisy solos of “Holding On” and “Red Eyes.” Bassist David Hartley played MVP of the night, injecting thick, cascading licks behind Granduciel’s musings as he channeled Born to Run-era Springsteen and Highway 61 Revisited-era Dylan. It was an evening of celebration on the Strip and beyond. ★★★★✩

Photos by Patrick Gray / Kabik Photo Group

Set List
An Ocean In Between the Waves
Strangest Thing
Knocked Down
Buenos Aires Beach
Red Eyes
Up All Night
Holding On
Under the Pressure
In Reverse
Thinking of A Place

In Chains
Eyes to the Wind