Tag Archives: Adam Granduciel

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The War on Drugs – Terminal 5 – September 19, 2017

September 20th, 2017


(Try to Grow a Pair of tickets to Friday’s sold-out War on Drugs show at SummerStage.)

Photos courtesy of Gregg Greenwood | gregggreenwood.com

Contest

Grow a Pair: Win Free Tickets to See the War on Drugs on 9/22

September 19th, 2017

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Touring behind their standout fourth studio album, A Deeper Understanding, the War on Drugs land in New York City this week for two shows. A few tickets still remain to see them tonight at Terminal 5, but their show on Friday at SummerStage is already sold out. But the good news is that The House List is giving away two tickets to see them in Central Park. Want to go? Try to Grow a Pair. It’s easy. Just fill out the form below, making sure to include your full name, e-mail address, which show you’re trying to win tickets to (War on Drugs, 9/22) and a brief message explaining your favorite tune on the new LP. Eddie Bruiser, who’s been listening to it on a loop, will notify the winner by Friday. Good luck.

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A Double Dose of the War on Drugs in New York City Next Week

September 15th, 2017

Philadelphia’s the War on Drugs craft songs with momentum. The synths underlying “Holding On” (above, performed live on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert), off their latest release, A Deeper Understanding (stream it below), chug along like a runaway train. Over the band’s four full-length albums, songwriter Adam Granduciel and Co. have fine-tuned what was already a well-oiled machine right out of the gates. They enlisted the production help of L.A. engineer Shawn Everett, known for his work on the Alabama Shakes’ masterful Sound & Color, for their first major-label record. A Deeper Understanding takes the War on Drugs’ signature expansive sound and pushes it, well, deeper into new terrains. On “Nothing to Find,” the beats plow through gorgeous swirling soundscapes of analog synths, and Granduciel’s vocals at the end sound like he’s howling into a massive canyon the song’s just blown into the earth. The War on Drugs’ music feels both large and personal, with softer numbers still showcasing a tenderness that sounds just as grandiose. The album’s gorgeously produced, and any little snippet of its soundscapes risks working its way into your head and never leaving. As their sound has grown bigger, so too has the group’s following, snowballing off the success of 2014’s much-acclaimed Lost in the Dream (stream it below). One album later and the New Yorker is ready to propose that they’re rock’s next torchbearers. The War on Drugs will make their case and then some when they return to New York City next week to play Terminal 5 on Tuesday and SummerStage on Friday. —Dan Rickershauser | @D4nRicks

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The War on Drugs – Radio City Music Hall – October 8, 2015

October 9th, 2015

The War on Drugs - Radio City Music Hall - October 8, 2015

Photos courtesy of Charles Steinberg | charlesosteinberg.com

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A Top Five Look Back at 2014

December 31st, 2014

Colourful 2014 in fiery sparklers

Top Five Albums
1. The War on Drugs, Lost in the Dream
2. Total Control, Typical System
3. Run the Jewels, Run the Jewels 2
4. Coldplay, Ghost Stories
5. Parquet Courts, Sunbathing Animal —Charles Steinberg

Top Five Memorable Shows
1. Feist, Tarrytown Music Hall, 4/10
When I heard Feist was doing a tiny solo acoustic tour, I forked over ducats for this one. There were bits of stand-up-like banter with the audience as she stripped down the material. But what really made the night was a mini-reunion with former bandmate (and ex) Kevin Drew as they dueted on the Broken Social Scene classic “Lover’s Spit.”
2. (tie) Rhye, Webster Hall, 2/21
This performance was a bit misleading because although singer Milosh and producer Robin Hannibal are the members in Rhye, the latter member doesn’t tour. But Milosh’s ethereal voice really is the heart and soul of the pair, and it shone greatest for the hit “Open.” His deceptively androgynous voice sounds at times like Sade or even Antony Hegarty.
(tie) Max Richter, The Bowery Ballroom, 12/7
When I saw that the German-British composer was playing Bowery, I had to hop to it. As Richter usually plays symphony concert halls, it was an interesting choice to play such a smaller venue. The Ballroom felt like a recital hall with the audience entranced. What can I say: I’m a sucker for artists playing unorthodox venues.
3. Glass Animals, The Bowery Ballroom, 7/7
I was recently reminded of this concert when my yoga instructor played “Gooey” in class. Pretty fitting, right? In addition to infectious dance melodies, frontman Dave Bayley’s gangly limbs flayed erratically that evening, bringing to mind another dude named Thom Yorke. The two lads have great music and dance moves to boot. Coincidence? I think not.
4. Phox, Knitting Factory, 7/22
The buzz swirling around this Wisconsin band post-SXSW had me tuned into their album all spring and into the summer. Frontwoman Monica Martin was definitely a bit tipsy, but that didn’t detract from her lush vocals or onstage camaraderie. (Check out Schuyler Rooth’s review of their Mercury Lounge gig.)
5. (tie) Mr. Little Jeans, Rough Trade NYC, 5/10
Opening for Sohn, Norwegian singer Monica Birkenes, aka Mr. Little Jeans, overshadowed the headliner for me. It’s rare when that happens, but this lady has a knack for übercatchy dance-pop songs that streamed through my head all summer. She mentioned how she often came here as a child and was really craving a good slice of pizza. What’s not to love?
(tie) Alvvays, Rough Trade NYC, 7/28
New York City summers are packed with free outdoor gigs throughout the boroughs, but this in-store performance with Alvvays stood out amongst the rest. Their infectiously happy songs illuminated the dark back room of Rough Trade but had folks departing into the night with an extra bounce in their step. —Sharlene Chiu

Top Five Just a Man and His Guitar Solo Sets (chronological order)
1.
Dustin Wong (opening set), The Bowery Ballroom, 4/21
2. Plankton Wat, Trans Pecos, 5/8
3. Steve Gunn, Mercury Lounge, 5/18
4. Willie Watson, Mercury Lounge, 5/21
5. Leif Vollebekk (opening set) The Bowery Ballroom, 11/21 —A. Stein | @Neddyo

Top Five Memorable Shows
1. Sylvan Esso, Rough Trade NYC, 9/11
Both my favorite album and my most memorable live show of 2014 came from Sylvan Esso. Amelia Meath and Nick Sanborn possess unwavering emotive energy, and every single lyric and beat has sunk into my psyche . I saw the duo perform live twice this year, most recently at their headlining show at Rough Trade NYC. The duo’s erudite electronica boosted the audience as they performed the entirety of their self-titled debut album plus and few clever covers.
2. Broods, Mercury Lounge, 3/3
Comprised of New Zealander siblings Caleb and Georgia Nott, Broods blend melodic melancholia with sparkling synths and glitchy beats. After getting wrapped up in their self-titled debut EP, I simply had to see them live. Broods played their first NYC show to an incredibly enthusiastic sold-out crowd at Mercury Lounge.
3. Hozier, The Bowery Ballroom, 5/13
Hozier’s rich voice and ardent lyrics sit front and center in his compositions. When he headlined The Bowery Ballroom back in May, he was flanked by equally talented musicians who created dazzling harmonies with choral echoes and rock hooks. Hozier and his bandmates mesmerized the audience, including me.
4. Dan Croll, The Bowery Ballroom, 4/17
Dan Croll’s brand of pop is highly addictive, and his live show is equally intoxicating. He fuses lilting pop, wonky electronica and tribal beats and tops it all off with clever lyrics and airy vocals.
5. Kishi Bashi, The Bowery Ballroom, 6/4
Kishi Bashi has what so many musicians seek, and that is an astounding live presence. It’s as if this guy belongs onstage. Kishi Bashi played back-to-back sold-out New York City shows this past June and stunned audiences with his whimsical finesse and astute lyrics. This picture and my review prove that Kishi Bashi’s live performance is one big euphoric dream sequence. —Schuyler Rooth | @Schuylerspeak

Top Five Albums
1. Under the Pressure, the War on Drugs
Channeling Dylan and Springsteen beneath Adam Granduciel’s vocals and personal struggles to stunning effect, this Philly six-piece put out, for me, far and away the top album of the year.
2. Benjamin Booker, Benjamin Booker
From the very first listen, Benjamin Booker’s self-titled debut sounds familiar, not like you’d previously heard its influences, but rather you’d actually already heard this album. The music is lived in and alive and a joy to listen to again and again.
3. 77, Nude Beach
Eighteen songs that sound like the love children of late-’70s Tom Petty and Elvis Costello. You’ll smile the whole time you listen to it.
4. Dancin’ with Wolves, Natural Child
Recording for the first time as a five-piece, and moving away from gritty garage rock to
a more full-band bluesy country sound (with a side of boogie), these Nashville boys took a huge step forward.
5. Morning Phase, Beck
Six years removed from his previous offering, Beck’s slow-building emotional relative of Sea Change captures you from the very first note. —R. Zizmor | @Hand_Dog

Top Five Memorable Shows
1. Pearl Jam, I Wireless Center (Moline, Ill.), 10/17
Playing a small (for them) venue (for the first time) on a Friday night in the middle of nowhere, Pearl Jam put on the best show by any band I’ve seen in the past four years. They performed No Code in its entirety and covered Pink Floyd, John Lennon, Van Halen and Neil Young. Frontman Eddie Vedder put it best, comparing the appearance to a blind date: “You get there and she opens the door, and it’s like, she’s hot!”
2. My Morning Jacket, One Big Holiday (Riviera Maya, Mexico), 1/29
I could’ve chosen any of MMJ’s performances from this run, but the last night was the longest show and it particularly stood out thanks to the perfect weather, the we’re-on-vacation-in-the-middle-of-winter party vibe and carefully chosen covers (including Jim James singing, “Something, something, something” in “Rock the Casbah.”)
3. the War on Drugs, The Bowery Ballroom, 3/20
I absolutely loved, loved, loved Under the Pressure and was extremely excited to hear it live. The War on Drugs did not disappoint, plus they even threw in a stellar rendition of “Mind Games” to boot. (As an added bonus, the night began with Drive-By Truckers at Terminal 5 and closed with green sauce and salt-baked goodness at New York Noodletown.
4. Jonathan Wilson, Music Hall of Williamsburg, 2/14
It was a Friday night and Valentine’s Day. But if you were expecting something quiet and romantic, you’d have been way off. Jonathan Wilson and Co. delivered 16 jammed-out (but not self-indulgently) songs over the course of two-and-a-half hours.
5. Deer Tick, Allen Room, 3/6
As part of the American Songbook series, Deer Tick played an incredibly intimate, seated show in front of a wall of windows revealing Columbus Circle below. It was one of those moments that makes you grateful to live in New York City. —R.Z.

 

 

 

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The War on Drugs Take a Giant Leap

March 20th, 2014

The War on Drugs – The Bowery Ballroom – March 19, 2014

The War on Drugs – The Bowery Ballroom – March 19, 2014
If you, like most fans of music, find yourself enjoying the new War on Drugs album, Lost in a Dream, seeing them performing it live will give you a reason to obsess over the LP. Most critics consider the new album a nice step forward for the band, but the amount of effort and craft they’ve put behind how the songs sound live makes that step seem much more like a giant leap. Last night at The Bowery Ballroom was the first of the band’s three sold-out shows in the city, so lucky for us New Yorkers, there are more chances to experience their new material in its most perfect form.

Adam Granduciel filled out “Under the Pressure” with a steady undercurrent of impressive guitar work, spackling delicate improvised riffs into every groove. For “Eyes to the Wind,” perhaps the most beautiful song the band has written to date, a scorching saxophone solo burned down every last bit of energy from the tune’s extended climax. “An Ocean in Between the Waves” built up momentum like a staircase, until it almost became out of their control, like the song’s energy was so strong it had the band running to keep up with it. Future sets are bound to include some surprises as well. The War on Drugs brought back “Come to the City” for their encore, performing it for the first time in two years, with Granduciel free to push his voice to its limits—and beyond—as one of the night’s closers.

The War on Drugs have always been able to create an atmosphere around their songs, like their harmonies are plucked out of the synth-driven cosmos. But these new songs made me think it’s more the opposite. Granduciel went through a lot to piece together Lost in a Dream: the end of a long-term relationship, some doubt about his future as a musician. But strong emotions have a way of bending our perception of the world around us. Just like in a dream, it’s our emotions that build the worlds we create in our sleep. And while songs on an album fill out a finite amount of space, performed live, Granduciel’s free to determine how deep we follow those dreams down their wormholes. It’s a band’s call on when to wake us from those dreams. —Dan Rickershauser

Photos courtesy of Charles Steinberg | charlesolivierphoto.com

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The War on Drugs Provide Easter Treats

April 9th, 2012

The War on Drugs – The Bowery Ballroom – April 9, 2012

I’m guessing it’s not easy to sell out a show on Easter Sunday, but Philly’s the War on Drugs did just that and gave the Bowery Ballroom audience a basketful of treats in the process. Opening with “Arms Like Boulders” off 2008’s Wagonwheel Blues, Adam Granduciel and the band showed the tightness of a group that claimed to have been on an eight-month multicontinental tour. Early on it was David Hartley’s tumbling, deep-throated bass that supplied the bounce to Granduciel’s troubadour lyrics and vocals. But the band proved to be a musical Easter egg and cracked open its songwriter shell to reveal, gooey, psychedelic stretches, with resonating guitar and Day-Glo jams.

Appropriate for the holiday weekend, the band was in a friendly mood, dedicating several songs to friends and members of the audience, including “Comin’ Through” to Dan “NYC Taper” Lynch, recording up in the balcony. Here, the lights went full-on psychedelic pastel, with the War on Drugs playing from inside an Easter egg as the guitar reverberated into the room. From there, things got impressively weirder, with songs melting into one another, echoing trumpets going intergalactic and the lights swirling into UFO shapes bounding behind the band. Later, they brought out friends Doug Keith and Jimmy Carbonetti of Caveman to beef up the big guitar jam in “Brothers.” Granduciel has a distinct guitar tone with gnarled toeholds that help his solos climb otherwise unwieldy mountains.

As the set wore on, the music seemed to get louder and more intense, but the sound in the room was perfectly balanced and crisp throughout, allowing each nuance of the full-band jams—and they were certainly jamming at this point—to be digested. The lone cover of the night saw a switch to 12-string acoustic, which brought a hypnotic dream-like quality to the Waterboys“A Pagan Place.” The set ended appropriately with a big psych jam, heavy with drums, double keyboards, looping guitar and feedback all ensconced in rainbow lights, like an overturned Easter basket of sound. Like the show itself, the three-song encore started as a perfectly formed chocolate bunny, but the band nibbled at it until it became a surrealistic, unrecognizable, truly delicious mass of sound. And the closing number, “It’s Your Destiny,” built into an awe-inspiring outer-space free-for-all. —A. Stein