The War on Drugs @ Mercury Lounge, 8/20/11
Celebrating the release of their new album, Slave Ambient, The War on Drugs played to a packed house at Mercury Lounge this past Saturday night. Led by frontman Adam Granduciel, the band played a good mix of old and new tracks, even taking requests from the audience and making several dedications.
Although the band seemed tight and to be in good spirits, some of the distinction and clarity that is so prominent in the band’s recorded work, seemed to be missing. Whether it was the acoustics, the guy in the sound booth, or the band, I was mildly disappointed by the lack of crisp guitar riffs and that wonderfully complex, layered sound. Granduciel’s voice, with its strong Dylan-esque inflections, did sound great though, as did the brief harmonica bits in “Arms Like Boulders,” an audience (and personal) favorite. Despite not quite living up to my expectations, both the audience and the band seemed to have a great time.