War On Drugs @ Alexandra Palace 14/11/2017 [Live Review]

My Dad really likes “War On Drugs.” Ever since I made the mistake of introducing him to them on one of our many car journeys from university to the family home, he has been practically obsessive in his listening history. Almost to the point where any further recommendation requests beginning with the phrase “Like War on Drugs but…” So, when he got a spare ticket to go see them at Ally Pally, I wasn’t surprised.

Inter-generational, at least genuine ones, are rare. They normally have to speak to something universal in music. An escapism of desire perhaps. I dunno, I’ve never really thought about it as I’m a rockstar in progress myself. For this, War on Drugs scores points. A diverse crowd with a full age range created a simple environment for people just going to see live music. No pretension, no bullshit, no rubbish.

I saw War on Drugs in Edinburgh at the very beginning of 2015. I had soem criticisms then and sadly, similar ones remain. War on Drugs as a band produce excellentely crafted albums with unwavering atmosphere punctuated by guitar solos, breakdowns and rock n roll escapism. They are inter-generational as mentioend and consistently well reviewed.

Yet live, it’s a resounding shrug. Imagine plugging in a War on Drugs Spotify playlist into a really godo soundsystem and you generally get the idea. Every track is expertly crafted and sounds great but as a spectacle and show, is there any point? Maybe I have my standards set too high but I think the live experience should be about taking a risk on someone you’re unsure of or being treated to somethign beyond the record. Having said this, there was the odd moment of greatness that shone through, including the performance of “Red Eyes” but they were too few and far between for me to wholeheartedly recommend the live show.

I’m probably just grumpy and this is just my opinion so don’t get your knickers in a bunch.


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