Home Electronic dance The War on Drugs was effortlessly transcendent on their Irving Friday show

The War on Drugs was effortlessly transcendent on their Irving Friday show

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In an evening full of laid-back grandeur, the simplest sentiment made the biggest impression.

Adam Granduciel (the stage name of singer-songwriter Adam Granofsky) and his fellow bandmates War on Drugs had amply demonstrated that they were capable of creating a mesmerizing whirlwind of guitars, percussion, brass and keyboards. when they dug into “Living Proof,” about quarter past the band’s two-hour set Friday night at Toyota Music Factory’s Irving’s Pavilion.

The track is the opening song of the rock band’s fifth and final album, last year I don’t live here anymore, the sequel to the captivating Grammy Award of 2017 A deeper understanding. “Living Proof” is deceptively stripped down – an insistent acoustic guitar riff, which blossoms into a beautiful climactic electric guitar figure, laid over soft piano and drums – but its lyrics land with brutal force: “I’m always changing / love overflows / But I rise / And I’m damaged / Oh, I rise,” sang Granduciel, 42, on Friday, the lights swirling around him.

It’s a startling opener, but situated as it was on Friday between the brooding “Victim” and a sprawling “Harmonia’s Dream”, the song felt like a subtle restatement of what Granduciel had said almost as soon as he stepped on stage in front of the comfortably full place: “This place is nice,” he said, “but every place is nice right now.”

COVID-19 protocols were in place Friday; proof of vaccination was required for entry, but despite the group’s request that attendees mask up, there was a pronounced indifference to face coverings among those gathered. (In a concession to current reality, the War on Drugs forgoes the opening acts of this leg of its tour and hits the stage promptly at 8:30 p.m.)

Friday’s stop was the band’s first local appearance since a September 2017 gig at what was then known as the Bomb Factory. Granduciel highlighted the band’s affinity for Dallas: “We’ve always had a great time playing in Dallas – it’s pretty close to Dallas, isn’t it?” he said mid-set, then dedicated “Occasional Rain” to Dallas drummer Jeff Ryan (it’s unclear if Ryan was in attendance on Friday).

In an age of hyper TikTok montages and sample-drunk pop music, War on Drugs’ music is a deliberate throwback to an analog era: men and women making rock music with their hands, embracing the occasional flaw and reveling in the alchemy of live. performance.

While it’s tempting to slap a neo-Springsteen label on what Granduciel and his collaborators do, narrowing their work to such a narrow definition minimizes the expansive, woolly sheen packed into even the smallest moments.

In an age of hyper TikTok montages and sample-drunk pop music, War on Drugs’ music is a deliberate throwback to an analog era: men and women making rock music with their hands, embracing the occasional flaw and reveling in the alchemy of live. performance.

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Granduciel was backed by drummer Charlie Hall, horn player Jon Natchez, guitarist/keyboardist Robbie Bennett, keyboardist/synthesizer/guitarist Eliza Hardy-Jones and bassist Dave Hartley, with tour manager Craig McQuiston making an appearance to add guitar additional to “Under the Pressure.” (Drummer Anthony LaMarca was absent on Friday, but Granduciel noted that he “would be joining…soon.”)

The popular set list More and the bewitching of 2014 Lost in the dream, largely bypassing the rest of the band’s catalog. Highlights, augmented by the subdued but dazzling lighting of an otherwise spartan stage, abounded: “Pain” was deliciously bruised, while “Red Eyes” ignited the room, “I Don’t Live Here Anymore” electrified and “Under the Pressure” culminated in an extended instrumental panic that only reinforces how easily the war on drugs has made musical transcendence look and feel.

Blending visceral nostalgia and stabbing dispatches from life’s front lines, The War on Drugs manages a powerful magic trick, crafting expansive rock songs that sound familiar, even if the nuances – hidden behind sleek guitar lines and gorgeous and a sky-scraping bomb — popping up like spring-loaded surprises, as capable of lifting you as they bring you to your knees.