War On Drugs Kevin Wells

The War On Drugs @ O2 Academy

There has been no escaping the buzz that has surrounded psychedelic rockers The War On Drugs following the release of last year’s ‘Lost In The Dream’. The record’s mix of indie rock and droning psychedelia pushed the band to new heights leading them to sell out shows across the globe. The 02 Academy saw a diverse demographic of fans excitedly waiting to catch an intimate show before the group embarked on a lengthy run of the European festival circuit.

Opening the festivities was Leeds five-piece Eagulls, who have been enjoying waves of success following the release of their debut record last year, supporting the likes of Franz Ferdinand and appearing on Late Show With David Letterman. The band presented a modern spin on ’80s post-punk, emulating the sounds of genre heavyweights The Cure and Joy Division. The band, however, quickly lost momentum as their gloomy apathetic sound lacked the reinforcement of engaging stage presence. Frontman George Mitchell remained reserved throughout with the occasional mumble into the microphone between tracks.

War On Drugs Kevin Wells Sheffield

As the lights dimmed, the cries of hundreds of fans filled the air and the headliners raced out to greet the cheering crowd. Opener ‘An Ocean Between Waves’ succeeded in creating a captivating atmosphere instantly, absorbing the audience in a wash of mesmerizing psychedelic hooks. Frontman Adam Granducie’s warm vocals dripped with emotion as he delved into a set predominantly made up of hits from their latest effort. Granducie appeared to be in his element and his instrumental prowess was forever on show, delivering some incredibly impressive fretwork. Monster hit ‘Under The Pressure’ in particular evoked a powerful response from the audience. Just like their predecessors, audience interaction was in short supply, with Granducie taking the occasional opportunity to introduce tracks. The atmospherically reflective ‘In Rerverse’ was a highlight mixing up the pace and giving the set a real sense of dynamics. Proving they were more than just an overnight success, The War On Drugs delivered one of the most captivating performances the city has seen all year.

Words: Kieran Harris

Photos: Kevin Wells

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