As soon as the band took to the stage the vibe at The Biltmore Cabaret shifted and people mingling were instantly absorbed and transfixed. It was a room brimming with willing participants about to embark on a profound psychological expedition deftly escorted by The War on Drugs.
The rolling rhythms and their particular use of the snare drum were reminiscent of a steam engine’s ‘chugga chug-chug’. As though the groove was winding its way through the heartland of America, bound for nowhere and never ceasing; only slowing down briefly to get a better look at the scenery. I could feel the vibrations rattle through my bones – straight to my very soul.
The beautiful and beguiling melodies of the guitar, synthesizer and harmonica overlaid the steady rhythm of the drums. They seemed to change very little from song to song – lending to the singular experience of their set as a whole.
When they finally stopped at the station, no one really knew where they were. Everyone, including myself, had left the train with a sense of comfort and a subtle grin of contentment. Next time The War on Drugs is in town, you should make damn sure you have a ticket because they are a journey you won’t want to miss.
Sharon Van Etten, an indie folk artist from Brooklyn NY headlined the night and though The War on Drugs was an impressive set to follow, she had no problem commanding the stage or the audience’s attention.
Starting her set acoustically, I was immediately taken with her extremely melodic velvety voice executing these really complex and fantastic runs in such a natural and soulful way. I was delighted that the lilting breaks in her voice reminded me of Dolores O’Riordan of the Cranberries whom I hadn’t heard or even thought of for quite some time now.
The ease with which she sang expressed such emotion and humility – it was really quite captivating.
Van Etten is so candid and genuine with her storytelling. The audience was spellbound by the beauty of her vocal style. There was a very intimate feeling about her performance that made me feel like she was singing directly to me – as if she was singing to each person individually and not to the audience as a whole.
It was such a privilege to have seen these two spectacular acts together. When the night came to a close, my spirit felt replenished and my mind was at ease. Saturday night at The Biltmore was nothing short of musical odyssey!
If you haven’t already, you can check out Sharon Van Etten’s music here: http://sharonvanetten.com/
And The War on Drugs here: http://www.thewarondrugs.net/