The War On Drugs Bring Down The Bowl at LA's Greek Theater

by Sid Feddema

It was a classically lovely LA evening at the Greek Theater. There was a residual warmth in the air, a few stars visible overhead. A big, butter yellow moon rose from between the pines as Adam Granduciel took the stage, followed by the other five members that make up The War On Drugs, and soon it was crowded with musicians settling in behind a small orchestra's worth of instruments—keys, bass, saxophone, two guitarists. They wasted no time launching into a touching tribute to Tom Petty, delivering a poignant cover of his classic "Time to Move On,"—a natural fit for a band that takes heavily frorm the roots of rock to create music that transcends its origins.

Anyone who has listened to The War On Drugs knows that one of their greatest attributes is their precision. Their latest album, A Deeper Understanding, has won critical acclaim for its meticulously arranged but expansively emotional songs. Not a piece is out of place, and the lush production allows the listener to hone in on any instrument, appreciating the minutest details amidst stacks of tracks. What's amazing is that this also translates to their live sets. Throughout the set the band played together without a hitch, with song after song of perfectly crafted rock. On the lengthy "Under the Pressure", die hards and new converts left their seats, drawn to their feet for the sweeping chorus, weaving drifting saxophone, driving bass, slinking keys, tight percussion, and Granduciel's soaring guitar together for a barn burner that cast a hypnotic, melancholic warmth over the crowd. A band in peak form, playing beneath the stars—it made for a memorable night.