Gracing most of the end of year lists last year The War on Drugs became the hottest new band that somehow everyone was talking about so how did an American band of relative unknowns become one of the most talked about bands of 2014.
This was probably due to 'Lost in the Dream' which demonstrated a pop sensibility underneath its motorik rhythms and as well as their excellent songwriting.
The band are playing two sold out nights at Manchester’s Albert Hall which itself is a magnificent venue perfect for the bands epic wall of sound.
Tonight there is a packed crowd anticipating the band’s appearance but that is to come a little later.First up its Amen Dunes who are the brainchild of new Yorker they are similar to the Philadelphian band but don’t have too much substance and most of their music just fades into the background.
Its clear that the crowd are really here for the main event as the hall increases in number. When the band enter the stage they open with album highlight “Under the Pressure” which blows away the cobwebs with its shuddering reverb signalling the start of a blistering 70 minute set of all and new tracks each showcasing the bands musical prowess the triumphant ‘An Ocean in Between the Waves’ and the breezy 'Lost in a Dream' which stuns the crowd into silence and the majestic pop of 'Red Eyes'. Its hard to resist the bands hypnotic grooves .The band barely pause for breath other than to briefly take in the venues surroundings and to address some members of the crowd.
The set-up is different from the record with a fleshed out band including brass accompaniment its all the more better with live instruments rather than backing track-you listening one direction?. It is also noticeable how tight the band are with each member committed to putting on a faultless assured performance.
Some quarters of the music press branded the band boring and were astonished when they were announced in the top albums of the year it’s clear that with this blistering assured performance War on Drugs are anything but- maybe some drugs aren't that bad for you.