The War on Drugs complete their Australian tour with aplomb at The Forum.
“Thank you and goodnight,” says Adam Granduciel after the opener Eyes To The Wind draws to a close. He informs the crowd that they usually finish on this song, so they intend to play a 16-song encore. He’s in good spirits this evening: this is the last leg of the Australian tour and the gloves are off.
It’s an interesting set-up. Essentially there are three keyboard players, two of which play other instruments; a bass player whose fingers move over the fretboard with disorienting speed, but who manages to stay prone for the duration of the show; and a drummer that hunches over his kit like a protective father.
Then there is Granduciel. The chief songwriter/guitarist/vocalist in The War on Drugs bobs back and forward, swapping guitars at every song. Neil Young, in stage presence and appearance, springs to mind. You get the sense that he, and in fact all the band, are consummate musicians who live and breathe their craft as much off stage as on.
The mark of every good performer, Granduciel controls the energy in the room; drawing in the audience through a rambunctious performance of Under The Pressure, holding them on every guitar stroke in Strangest Thing, and releasing the light on this Valentine’s Day in a beautiful rendition of Pain. This band can play.
The show clocks off just shy of midnight and The War on Drugs retreat after a resplendent two-hour performance. This band continue their upward trajectory; with a Grammy in the bag for the excellent 2017 A Deeper Understanding, the next time we see them down under they’re likely to be playing to much bigger audiences.