The War on Drugs smash Glasgow sellout shows

The War on Drugs impress at second sell-out night at The Barras.


Adam Granduciel spoke candidly of his problems with anxiety attacks in a recent interview. The inevitable shift from small venues to baying festival crowds as his career progressed put the 38-year-old in a downward spiral of panic attacks.

Now, following the release of The War on Drugs’ fourth studio album, A Deeper Understanding, the band’s frontman says he has found solace in the life of a touring musician having come to terms with his demons. Currently on an extensive world tour, the Philadelphia natives wowed fans on the second of two consecutive sold out nights at Glasgow’s Barrowland Ballroom on Friday.


After a stellar opening set from The Barr Brothers, the anticipatory burble swirling around The Barras is palpable. Eventually, and without so much as uttering a word, The War on Drugs open up with In Chains from the new record.


The lack of chat is a constant theme as the band speed through a host of tracks from the latest album as well as a few numbers from 2014’s seminal Lost In A Dream. The songs are rarely less than six or seven minutes; each spiralling off into a kaleidoscopic dream stuffed full with choice saxophone, glistening guitars with drummer Steven Urgo’s constant pulse pulling the whole thing together.


The wide-eyed audience enjoy a largely gentle pace to the show, buoyed by the spectacular lighting. The exception is Under The Pressure which, after an epic build up, gets people jumping on the famously bouncy Barrowland Ballroom floor. After all, it wouldn’t be a show at the Barras without a bit of pogo dancing.


As the set wears on, the honesty of Granduciel’s songwriting is tangible. There are no gimmicks, no shock tactics; just passion, big Springsteen-esque choruses, timeless lyrics and unremitting guitar solos which trundle on in the style of Neil Young. One gets the feeling that this is the modern embodiment of stadium rock. The band’s early mission to combine krautrock with big sky Americana seemed impossible if even ill-thought-out; but The War on Drugs prove to be effortlessly original, whilst still finding the time for a tip of the cap to the greats.


The War on Drugs continue the UK leg of their tour tonight with a sold out show in London.

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