Philly-based The War on Drugs have come a long way since 2014, when I first saw them at Hollywood’s Fonda Theatre. Of course, they were fantastic back then, practically a revelation, like you were witnessing the start of the next big thing.
But seeing them at the Hollywood Bowl last week with nearly 18,000 fans, they’ve definitely transcended their indie roots and tapped into the contemporary mainstream. Or more accurately, the mainstream has tapped into them.
And there’s a definite evolution occurring, as their flawless show demonstrated … sprawling aural landscapes painted with epic dreamy guitar solos, surfing along soft-spoken driving beats, all drifting about in hypnotic waves.
Check out their live rendition of “Under the Pressure.” Apologies for the questionable video quality. It’s mostly aimed at a live video screen, since the stage was a bit far away. But I’ve got about 9.5 minutes of it here. It went on for another 2 minutes, but my iPhone ran out of space. Super lame.
The War on Drugs perform “Under the Pressure” @ the Hollywood Bowl on 09.16.18.
The music video…
And here’s the album version for comparison.
“Under the Pressure” from 2014’s “Lost in the Dream.”
Lastly, here’s The War on Drugs’ setlist for their performance at the Hollywood Bowl on 09.16.18.
Canadian indie act Alvvays opened the show. They’ve got a lot of catchy pop-flavored songs, some I like more than others. But their opening track “In Undertow” from their 2017 LP “Antisocialites” is just blissfully stuck in my head. I just love how optimistically uplifting this sounds, even if lyrically its about something a little different.
Alvvays perform “In Undertow” @ the Hollywood Bowl on 09.16.18.
The music video …
And the recorded version …
“In Undertow” from the 2017 album “Antisocialites.”
Lastly, Alvvays’ setlist for their performance at the Hollywood Bowl on 09.16.18.