It’s miserable tonight in Glasgow and there’s a good few top touring acts are in town, but none of these things have stopped people from packing out Stereo to see possibly the most excited guys to be in Glasgow this evening The War On Drugs.
The four-piece Philadelphia act wash over the crowd like a cool breeze, the label ‘indie rock’ which has been placed onto them couldn’t really be more misleading, despite it being in some ways accurate.
Surf enthused indie splashed with vocalist Adam Granduciel’s distinctive croak, drawing the odd similarity with Dylan, all drenched in glorious feedback move to driving classic 80s American indie basslines and a tendency to flicker into impressive guitar spasms, giving another cheeky nod to the surf, before hitting you with some dreamy soundscapes, it can’t be said these guys aren’t versatile.
Granduciel’s vocals aren’t all delivered in that Dylanesque croak, atop the more expansive tracks his voice drops creating a smooth calming effect only interrupted by stuttering guitar squeals which pull you away just enough when the beautiful lo-fi indie rock threatens to engulf you.
The War On Drugs have a way of sending their audience into a trance, the mind wanders elsewhere, but don’t think this is disconnected with the music, as soon as the songs ends you are pulled away instantly to the next tracks cutting harmonica beginning.
Broken, at times ineligible speech comes from the stage as Granduciel’s tendency to mutter suggests he should stick with the performing, comments about meeting The Waterboys, “they’re from here, I think”, are met by silence; clearly he means Scotland but the possibility of confusing Glasgow with Edinburgh, or maybe a lack of enthusism for The Waterboys, who knows?
Still more dreamy lo-fi grooves take minds off that, maybe everyone is lost due to the heat in the room, it certainly does me no favours, between tracks chat of “what’s happening in Scotland these days?” is met by confusion, but the mention of a trip to Sleazy’s sparks a reaction, and the description of Buckfast as “that thing with mulled wine” tickles the audience some what.
Unfortunately tonight in is uncomfortable in its glory, this is in no way the fault of the band who deliver an encapsulated musical display, but sadly the miserable weather combined with the heat in the room and that typical Sunday night feeling combine to leave something amiss.
Still, I would definitely recommend seeing these guys again, maybe in a less congested and warm atmosphere, or maybe it’s just that I’m pretty ill.
Words: Iain Dawson
Photos: Ka Man Hung