LAST WEEKEND’S SHOW AT THE HORSESHOE
Story by Kate Davies
Photo by David Hartley
There was a LOT of hair at their concert on December 9th, a literal nod towards the ’60s freewheeling artists and lead singer, Adam Granduciel’s shaggy locks. Toronto’s Horseshoe Tavern was breathing-room-only, as everyone made a valiant attempt to shove their way as close to the stage as possible. Despite this fact, when the band came on and opened with their 6-minute ‘Your Love is Calling My Name’, the crowd began dancing up a storm, somehow all of us finding a mutual push-and-shove that effectively resulted in a mass, yet non-aggressive dance-off.
Fan-favourites ‘Baby Missiles’ and ‘Taking the Farm’ recalled the likes of New Order’s ‘Age of Consent’, ‘Comin’ Through’ displayed the band’s ability to generate a hit out of a largely monochromatic tune, and ‘Buenos Aires Beach’ displayed a slightly more upbeat side to the group. They also paid tribute to the heady heavyweights, Grateful Dead, with their cover of ‘Touch of Grey’. The highlight of the show was the enchanting ‘Brothers’, the only song they actually introduced, which combined a gorgeous layered effect of acoustic pickings. This song undoubtedly encompasses the heart and soul of The War On Drugs.
That said, it sadly became clear as the show progressed that the nature of The War On Drugs’ music become tiresome, as the once-packed venue slowly trickled down to sparsity before the band had even left for their encore. The slowly-churning ambiance of their prolonged set was like one drink too many that throws you over the edge. Nevertheless, they remain a quartet of undeniably talented musicians who simply need to push the edit button on a few of their tracks to make it all killer with no filler.
Honourable mention of the night absolutely goes to opening act Andre Ethier, formerly the lead singer for Toronto garage band The Deadly Snakes. His first song ‘Easiest Game’ was eerily reminiscent of a jazzed-up version of Pink Floyd’s ‘Comfortably Numb’. With his vocals arriving somewhere at the crossroads between Jakob Dylan and Randy Newman, he is surely an act to watch out for on the Toronto music scene.