The War On Drugs. Hi-Dive. 10.30.11

Those of us who made it out to Hi-Dive last night were rewarded with a surprisingly mellow psychedelic jam from Philadelphia’s The War On Drugs. The band took the stage at 11:00pm with very little audience engagement. Adam Granduciel is not your dynamic front man, and to be honest I was a little put off by his lack of personality at first — rarely bothering to lift his head and expose his face through his shroud of hair. I never pegged The War On Drugs as a shoegaze band, but that is what they turned out to be. Shoegazing folk music filtered through 70’s rock with 80’s pop sensibilities. It might have taken a song or two for me adjust my expectations, but once I found myself on board, I was along for the duration. The War On Drugs proved you don’t need a big personality to put on a good show — before we knew it an hour and a half were gone. Losing time is the sure sign of a successful show, and when Granduciel announced ‘that’s it everybody‘ after “It’s Your Destiny”, everyone filtered out onto Broadway in a mellow haze — smiling ear to ear.  If you’re going to fight a war on drugs, this Philly 4-piece might be a valid substitution.