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.


Rhodes | @ King Tuts Glasgow 31/10/2014

Let me start by saying that I have been a very very naughty boy. I’ve let the blog flounder slightly as I moved to Edinburgh. It took a reasonable toll on me as I moved to a brand new city and struggled on my new Masters course which I have only just managed to settle into. This lead to my focus waning and the blog being neglected like a greying slab of cheese at the back of the cupboard.

“No more” he cried. It is time to start anew. Anyway, I went to see Rhodes play a set in Glasgow on Halloween and it was an excellent alternative to getting spat on in grungey nightclubs. Coming on after an hour of support acts I was expecting numerous musicians to capture the lush instrumentation present on his EPs and was surprised to be confronted by a single guy with even less facial hair than myself and curly locks in need of a trim.

Rhodes @ King Tuts

Skeptical at first Rhodes channeled his inner Jeff Buckley and blew the room away. It’s never easy to go up as one man and try and channel the developed soulful sound found on his records live with just a guitar or piano, but man we weren’t disappointed. Communicating with the small crowd in a shy modest tone was a brilliant contrast to the visceral nature of his songs and Rhodes even dealt with a battered heckler with class, decorum and a slight flash of sarcasm which I appreciated beyond words.

Ending on Your Soul, which was the highlight of the night, Rhodes scuttled off for a drink with the audience and was freely signing EPs and other merch which is just friendly. He’s still got some tour dates going in Leeds and Bristol if you hurry. If not he’s working on his first feature LP which will be accompanied by a tour so look out for tickets to not miss out on a class act.