Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Last Night in Toronto: The War on Drugs

In my line of work, I'm not really allowed to fan girl (openly) at the sight of musicians or bands. But, last night, as we shivered in line under the dark of Bloor Street following an hour-long blackout, and The War on Drugs front man Adam Granduciel lit up on the curb next to me - I found it surprisingly hard not to get a little weird.

The front man and already-legendary guitarist has been one of my most admired musicians for about five years now, and seeing him there, so accessible and unsuspecting as he sucked back a pre-show smoke - his presence felt oddly surreal. Maybe even more surreal considering my refreshed love for War On Drugs following what, I think is, the best album of their career - and maybe even the year.

Lost in the Dream was even more spectacular than I could have imagined, rattling and electric from atop a live stage. Despite the 1.5 hour delayed start and his own perfectionist set-up routine, Granduciel was flawless. His fingers were fire and his chords alight. His voice was like milk and somehow managed to peel over top of his acrobatic shredding. Every melody felt timeless and the stuff of history-making.

I feel this often, but especially last night, I was unable to understand the tiny pockets of frozen concert goers who weren't as much as twitching to the infectious, real rock. My body vibrated, head unhinged from my neck, riff-after-riff, sax solo after sax solo. Every time he softly squealed a pretty highway rock anthem, I was alive - wondering if the grand, stadium-ready new songs felt suffocated by the four theatre walls of Lee's. For probably the first time since I last saw Springsteen, I felt like rock 'n roll was alive and impossibly well.

Go see on The War on Drugs if you know what's good for your heart, brain and every muscle. Here's a performance that drove me wild.

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