After topping the charts and winning mass critical acclaim with their third studio album, Lost in the Dream (Secretly Canadian, 2014), The War on Drugs solidified their place in music history this year with their first Grammy nomination and win for their fourth studio album, A Deeper Understanding (Atlantic, 2017).
The Philadelphian rock band has created an almost untouchable landscape with their unparalleled sound—they embody a trove of musical influences from decades past, but with a verve that has set the bar unmistakably high for decades to come (it’s a sound that may best be described as beautiful melancholy that comforts the soul, shakes the body, and imbues the mind). With their international appeal, it’s no surprise that The War on Drugs has already sold out legs of their tour (in support of their latest album), New York’s Brooklyn Steel being no exception. On Sunday night the band came out in full force to show exactly how and why they managed to score the Best Rock Album of 2017.
Before the show even began, chatter in the crowd ranged from fans excited to see The War on Drugs again to fans caught in the anticipation of seeing them for the first time. After the show opened with “Brothers” the mood shifted almost unanimously to one of adoration (unmistakable cries of praise rattled through the venue). As The War on Drugs fluctuated between old songs (like "Under the Pressure") and new songs (like "Pain"), a jovial calm held the audience captive—while lead singer Adam Granduciel shouted out hellos to family (who’d made the trek up to New York) and improvised jokes with playful banter. Being at a War on Drugs concert is like being caught in a wave of emotions, complete with highs and lows; it's a powerful and moving experience (and it's one worth experiencing first hand).