The War on Drugs, led by frontman and founder Adam Granducial, has built their reputation on recorded music and live shows which incorporate an intense level of attention to musical detail. Soaring, rhythmic melodies and atmospheric instrumentals weave together 1980s synths with 1970s classic guitar licks, melding with lyrics to form whole musical cloth that makes you imagine at times being in a giant pile of floofy pillows, then raised to anthemic heights and floated gently down to a soft landing.
In late 2021, Granduciel completed a three-year effort to release a new album, I Don’t Live Here Anymore, achieving critical acclaim and being heralded as one of the best of the year — high praise for a band whose last effort nabbed the 2017 Grammy Award for Best Rock Album.
With COVID protocols firmly in place, The War on Drugs kicked off their “I Don’t Live Here Anymore” tour on Wednesday (January 19th) with the first of two sold-out shows at ACL Live in Austin, Texas.
Many fans were curious as to how changes in Granduciel’s personal life might reflect in his music and performance — and the outcome is that it’s all positive, with increased band collaboration and noticeable development in both lyrics and vocals. Granduciel was vocally stronger than he’s ever been and seemed relaxed onstage, surrounded by a plethora of pedals in a literal ring of light.