Posts Tagged ‘ The War On Drugs ’

The War On Drugs: September 19, 2017 Terminal 5

September 21, 2017

[screen capture from this video]

This is what the “next level” looks like. On the heels of the release of their 2017 major-label debut, A Deeper Understanding, The War On Drugs showed up for a two-night stand in New York, first at a packed Terminal 5, to be followed by a sold-out Central Park Summerstage on this Friday night. If the band’s Radio City show in 2015, right after they signed with Atlantic Records, portended what was to come, here we were, in the thick of the actual next step. I won’t retell the story from that 2015 post, but it’s worth a read if this is your first time with a War On Drugs recording from this site.

Being on a major label, or selling out lots of bigger shows, doesn’t signify whether a band is “good” or not, or worthy or not, of course. In fact, this part of the process can be a nasty trap for many musicians — anyone who knows anything about Nirvana or a zillion other bands can tell you that. But in the case of this band, the product of years of hard work, with a wide-open, intricate sound that screams for a bigger stage, it’s the right result, and it’s one that validates Adam Granduciel’s songwriting efforts in particular. Granduciel is the perfect vehicle for big-tent lyrics, writing songs that are both personal and universal, and the sound he has developed is of a piece with that. Beginning with Lost In A Dream, and continuing in a major way with A Deeper Understanding, War On Drugs albums have a precise, densely arranged, melodic sound with an almost otherwordly sheen to it. Of course, what’s funny about that is that it’s so unusual today. If you grew up in the 1980s, or listen to much music from that era, having albums that sounded good was table stakes for even cult-favorite bands. Studio budgets, and album sales, were different then. Many fewer bands show up these days with fourteen instruments credited to a single track — nearly half of them, in many cases, played by Adam Granduciel.

To reference the 1980s, and stalwarts like Tom Petty and Springsteen in particular, is not to malign this band at all. If anything, this show at Terminal 5 underscored that The War On Drugs are rightful heirs to that personal-yet-massive rock style. Like the best of their forebears, The War On Drugs are also able to translate their studio sound to the stage. Perhaps in a nod to many of the newer fans in the audience (one of us got asked if we first heard of the band on NPR), this set focused exclusively on the last two albums, and the band was so dialed-in they could very well have been playing the album over the PA. Of course, that would have deprived us of the added guitar pyrotechnics, and the joy of realizing, for the umpteenth time, that even in 2017, a band comprised of talented musicians of limited gimmickry but exceptional live performing skills can still make it big, can still mean something to people who these days are more accustomed to “musical precision” coming from an Ableton Live setup.

In this broad-reaching survey of the band’s last two albums, the band’s other most remarkable quality — consistency — was evident, to the point that it’s almost impossible to focus on a highlight. But for me, The War On Drugs song that will always best-represent this evolution in the band’s journey is “Under the Pressure,” which so elementally captures both Granduciel’s mindset in the making of Lost In A Dream, but also in many ways the enormous weight of the band’s current success. It’s another of those songs with specific meaning to its author that is also able to capture an almost-universal anxiety among its listeners. To see a band that we personally have liked and supported for so long reach this point — not only making it to this proverbial “next level” but thriving against the pressure — is a special and rare thing. To hear, even in the relatively few snippets of stage banter on this night, how they remain the same people who played in tiny bars ten (or even six) years ago, is rarer still. I have to acknowledge, briefly, that I realize this band doesn’t “need” the support of a website like this, but their treatment of us as fans, both in the past and today, says a lot. We appreciate it.

We each recorded this set from our usual location directly at the soundboard, acidjack’s with Schoeps MK41V microphones and nyctaper’s with Neumann KM150s. The sound quality of each is excellent, and both versions are offered here. Enjoy!

Special thanks to The War On Drugs, their management, and the Terminal 5 staff for allowing us to record the show. 

Download the nyctaper Neumann version of this show at [HERE] [MP3] / [FLAC]

Download acidjack’s Schoeps version: [MP3] | [FLAC]

Stream acidjack’s version here:

Stream nyctaper’s version here:

The War On Drugs
Terminal 5
New York, NY USA

Hosted at
Recorded and produced by acidjack

Schoeps MK41V (at SBD, DFC)>KCY>Z-PFA>Sound Devices MixPre6 (24/48)>WAV>Adobe Audition CC>Izotope Ozone 5 (EQ, effects, image)>Audacity 2.0.5 (track, amplify, balance, downsample, dither)>FLAC ( level 8 )

01 In Chains
02 Pain
03 An Ocean Between the Waves
04 Strangest Thing
05 Holding On
06 Red Eyes
07 Knocked Down
08 Nothing To Find
09 Up All Night
10 You Don’t Have To Go
11 Burning
12 Eyes to the Wind
13 [encore break]
14 Under the Pressure
15 Clean Living
16 In Reverse


The War On Drugs
Terminal 5
New York NY

Digital Master Recording
Recorded at Soundboard Booth

Neumann KM-150s > Sound Devices 744t > 24bit 48kHz wav > Soundforge (post-production) > CDWave 1.95 (tracking) > TLH > flac (320 MP3 and tagging via Foobar)

Recorded and Produced by nyctaper

[Total Time 1:47:30]
01 In Chains
02 Pain
03 An Ocean Between the Waves
04 Strangest Thing
05 Holding On
06 Red Eyes
07 Knocked Down
08 Nothing To Find
09 Up All Night
10 You Don’t Have To Go
11 Burning
12 Eyes to the Wind
13 [encore break]
14 Under the Pressure
15 Clean Living
16 In Reverse

PLEASE SUPPORT THE WAR ON DRUGS: Buy A Deeper Understanding from their website

The War on Drugs: October 8, 2015 Radio City Music Hall – FLAC/MP3/Streaming

October 11, 2015

[Photo courtesy of Ellen Qbertplaya]

This happened: About a year and seven months ago, in March of 2014, we attended back-to-back performances by The War on Drugs at Bowery Ballroom. Two of us from the site were backstage, where the band had been kind enough to invite us. Frontman Adam Granduciel was surrounded with well-wishers, seeming half-dazed from the adulation. He struck me as an unpretentious and genuinely kind person, nothing like typical “rock stars” of popular lore. Of course, he also wasn’t one yet. What followed a few minutes later was a conversation that has stayed with me since, as the founder of this site got a few minutes to talk to Adam, as he’d been doing since we saw his band take the stage as the opener at places like the Cameo Gallery and the Knitting Factory in Williamsburg. He basically laid out what was about to happen: the band’s popularity would explode, they would be a top draw at festivals around the world, they would be surrounded by new and different types of handlers, they would appear on late night TV shows, and, not far in the future, they would play a huge venue, like Terminal 5. Not to say that represents any unique power of prognostication or insight; to anyone who had watched the band play those shows at Bowery, who had heard Lost In the Dream and its connection to the American rock tradition in the vein of Tom Petty and Bruce Springsteen, who could feel the energy oozing from the stage, it should have been clear. The person who seemed most surprised, that night, was Granduciel himself.

The album that made it all happen, Lost In the Dream, prompts even bigger questions than its words themselves ask. How good can you be? Is burrowing deep inside yourself until you’ve turned yourself inside out, hurt and insecurities and questions all on display, apt to give you even more anxiety, or free you from it? Granduciel famously struggled through making this record, a long-term personal project on which he recorded the instruments himself. That period found him dealing with bouts of depression, paranoia and self-doubt, which you can hear all over the record. As Granduciel said in one interview, at one point he found himself, 33 years old and alone, realizing music was all he had. Wondering if this body of work would be finished. If it would be enough.

So maybe it’s not surprising that, even after those two very successful performances, Granduciel didn’t quite believe what was about to happen. But in reality, our prediction ended up undershooting the band’s success by a little. Because, after signing to Atlantic Records, ending up in tabloids, playing the Tonight Show, Kimmel, and Letterman (again), and headlining (soon) or high-billing at a slew of festivals, here they were, back in New York City, not at the 3,000 capacity Terminal 5, but at a true institution, Radio City Music Hall, with a capacity more than twice that. And from the opening notes, you knew that all that love and confidence that had come at them over the past 19 months wasn’t misplaced. These broad stages are where Granduciel’s sound belongs, even if his to-this-day humble, honest, everyman persona doesn’t scream for attention the way his peers’ often do. Tonight’s setlist itself was a sign of the band’s own confidence; rather than kick off with the best-known Lost In A Dream stuff, the band led with “Arms Like Boulders” from 2008’s Wagonwheel Blues, probably owned by a fraction of this crowd, followed by “Baby Missiles” from Slave Ambient. Hearing these songs in this setting, with this band, it’s easier to connect the dots from those albums to Lost In the Dream — while the band’s big breakthrough had much more slick production, the roots of that big-tent sound have always been there. From the day Granduciel started this thing, The War On Drugs have been awesome, and they have been big.

Granduciel’s family was in the audience, and what a joy this must have been for them. Judging by the number of shoutouts and dedications, there were quite a few friends and family there to witness this, as there ought to have been. As they always do, The War On Drugs gave this crowd their all for the full 100 minutes, and the setlist proved surprising at a few points. Sure, we got the ecstatic one-two-three of Lost In the Dream’s best songs — “Red Eyes,” “Eyes to the Wind,” and “Under the Pressure” — but that came about mid-set. After a bit more of Lost In the Dream came a new cover we haven’t heard, Ron Wood’s “Mystifies Me,” which paused mid-song for a dedication to drummer Charlie Hall and his wife, Ann. The main set closed on a mellow note, ending with “Lost In the Dream.” Sometimes it seems strange that such melancholy songs have become such crowd-pleasers. But then, it’s not hard to identify with their sentiments, particularly on Lost In the Dream — that search for something better, the suspicion, but not quite resignation, that the best things have passed. You keep your eyes up, you keep going, and you try to miss what is gone without letting it take you over. To me, it’s always been “Under the Pressure,” the album opener, that sums this part of this band’s story up: that iconic keyboard melody, soaring over the lyrics about being under the pressure, trying not to crack. But even in that first, ecstatic “whoo!” at the beginning, you know that this song is about hope. You know the narrator will make it, even he doesn’t sound so sure.

For an encore, we got probably band’s biggest pre-Lost In the Dream tune, “Brothers,” followed by the Wagonwheel Blues number “Buenos Aires Beach” to finish the night. It seems fitting that the set was bookended with songs from an earlier, simpler time in this band’s cycle. From here on out, The War On Drugs’ world will be something else entirely, as major recording artists on a roster that’s played home to bands like AC/DC and Led Zeppelin. Whatever comes after Lost In the Dream, the weight of expectations on that record will be felt like never before. We don’t know what it will sound like, but we do know that Granduciel has proven up to the greatness that’ll be asked of him. He deserves this, all of it.

This set was recorded with Schoeps MK41V supercardiod microphones to maximize rejection of extra noise and focus on the music. The sound quality is excellent for an audience recording in this venue. Enjoy!

The War On Drugs are on their way to the West Coast to play the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles, followed by headlining the Treasure Island Music Festival in San Francisco. Catch them out there.

Download the complete set from the Live Music Archive: [MP3] | [FLAC]

Stream the complete set from the Live Music Archive:

The War On Drugs
Radio City Music Hall
New York, NY USA

Schoeps MK41V>tinybox v2(OT)>Sony PCM-M10>24bit/44.1kHz WAV>Izotope Ozone 5 (EQ, image, exciter, compression)>Audacity 2.0.5 (track, amplify, balance, dither)>FLAC ( level 8 )

Tracks [Total Time 1:39:18]
01 Arms Like Boulders
02 Baby Missiles
03 Comin’ Through
04 An Ocean in Between the Waves
05 Disappearing
06 Red Eyes
07 Eyes To the Wind>
08 Under the Pressure>
09 In Reverse
10 Burning
11 Mystifies Me [Ron Wood]
12 The Animator>Come To the City
13 Lost in the Dream
[encore break removed]
14 Brothers
15 Buenos Aires Beach

If you enjoyed this recording, PLEASE SUPPORT The War on Drugs, visit their website, and buy Lost In the Dream from Secretly Canadian.


nyctaper Top 10 Concerts of 2014

December 27, 2014


NYCTaper (the site) will have our “Top 25 Moments” post later this week, but in the meantime this is the nyctaper (the person) list of my Top 10 concerts of 2014. Since I recorded less than half of the recordings posted on the site this year, its by no means comprehensive but its a personal list I’ve done since the site began in 2007.

1. The War On Drugs: March 19 and 20 2014 Bowery Ballroom
2014 was pretty much the year of the The War On Drugs. Their album has been the consensus number one selection among a vast number of end-of-year lists — appearing at or near the top in every single list we’ve read recently. And we’re proud of the fact that we were there first. In my review of this show, I predicted that Lost In The Dream would be an album of the year candidate and would be in the decade discussion. The band played two flawless shows at Bowery Ballroom, bringing the new album’s material to life with passion and precision.

2. Wussy: October 10, 2014 Knitting Factory / October 11, 2014 Private House Larchmont NY
2014 was also the year of Wussy. As their album Attica continues to show up on virtually every knowledgeable year-end list, it appears that the world at large is finally catching on to a band we’ve been pushing for the last half-decade. In between these two shows — a full band set headlining the CBGB Fest at the Knit, and the following night playing acoustically at a private house show — Wussy filmed a segment with CBS national morning news that recently aired. It was their first national tv appearance, and I’m guessing it won’t be their last. Both of these shows were great for different reasons, but both indicated the strengths of this unconventional but extraordinary band.

3. Wilco: October 29, 2014 Capitol Theatre Port Chester NY
Of the three nights when Wilco celebrated their 20th anniversary and the tour came to the NYC area, this was my favorite night for variety of reasons. The performances on all three nights were top notch, but this night had the extra bonus of some older Wilco material that I had never heard live or hadn’t seen in years.

4. Ty Segall: September 17, 2014 Webster Hall
Ty Segall keeps churning out the records and they keep getting better. The shows are also genuinely the best show in town — crazy talented band, great songs and a crowd that matches the energy from stage top to bottom. This night at Webster was part of two consecutive sold-out shows for Ty and this set was easily one of my best of the year, notable for the force of the crowd causing the photo pit guardrails to be removed because of of the crush.

5. Marah: July 12, 2014 Bowery Electric
The story of Marah is one of redemption and ultimately an extraordinary reinvention. A fairly successful band from the aughts, Marah was dormant for a few years before rising up from the ashes into an eclectic Americana band whose project was to resurrect centuries-old Pennsylvania folk songs into a contemporary format. Add to the band a 10 year old child prodigy on fiddle and a PhD in rural cultures on banjo and you have one of the most unlikely success stories in recent memory. This show at Bowery Electric was a revelation in so many ways, it perhaps best to just listen to the show in its entirety.

6. Woods: November 4, 2014 Death By Audio
This night ended up being my last at Death By Audio. If recording your last show one of your favorite venues ever ends up being one of your favorite bands, then its all good. For this show, Woods reunited with former member Lucas for several songs including the transition jam from his set to the main Woods set that led into “Bend Beyond” — also one of the best single moments of the year.

7. King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard: October 13, 2014 Baby’s All Right
Their new album came out too late in the year to end up on too many end-of-year lists, but if it had been released in February or March it would be right there. King Gizzard is a band clearly on the rise and their shows are all out ragers. We saw them four times this year but this was the one that really kicked it in and took this band to an entire other level. The opening segue was the one of the best extended pieces of music we heard all year.

8. PUP: February 21, 2014 Cameo Gallery
This is likely the show that I saw this year where the most unbridled energy emanated from the stage. PUP is part of the burgeoning punk scene in Toronto and they toured North America and Europe persistently throughout the year in support of their self-titled debut on Side One Dummy Records. This night at Cameo pre-dated the release of the album and the crowd was a fraction of the fans they’d see before the end of the year, but PUP was simply one full hour of energy, humor and fun and this was one of my favorite nights of the year.

9. The Kickback: October 23, 2014 NYCTaper Unofficial CMJ Day Party, Cake Shop
I invited The Kickback to play our CMJ show because of one song in particular — a version of “Rob Our House” at Pianos that we had seen in June. But when the band played their afternoon set in the basement of Cake Shop, I soon learned that this was far from a one-song band as every track was more compelling than the next. Of course, “House” was the number that blew mostly everyone away when it closed the set, but in reality this entire performance was killer.

Read more »

The War on Drugs: September 4, 2014 Hopscotch Music Festival, Lincoln Theatre, Raleigh, NC (FLAC/MP3/Streaming)

September 8, 2014

[photos by acidjack]

The Hopscotch Music Festival, held in Raleigh, North Carolina, has made it five years — not quite an eternity in a world of corporate music festivals like SXSW and Lollapalooza, but a rare achievement for an organically grown festival in a “midsize market” that has proven over and over that they are willing to take chances. Hopscotch is the festival willing to put a heavy metal band on its largest, outdoor, downtown stage on its Saturday night, rather than a more accessible mainstream act.  Hopscotch dedicates entire venues, at various times, to genres like experimental noise, ambient, thrash, black metal, and indie hip-hop. It is hosted in a city whose good humor and kindness borders upon unreal, sprawled across a fast-growing downtown, and unlike the best-known festival that attempts to use an entire city’s music venues as part of its sprawl, it opens everything to everyone, not reserving entry to “the big stuff” for the connected and the corporate.

Hopscotch, then, has much in common with The War on Drugs. I’ll make this bold claim now: they are the best rock act who has released an album this year. They didn’t get to that point quickly, or with flash, or with marketing, or even at times with buzz, though we did our best over here at this site. Three years ago, we caught them opening at Bowery Ballroom for Sharon Van Etten, another artist whose acclaim grew slowly on the back of honesty and hard work. This band grew on the back of the validity of their mission, the honesty of their approach, and their hard, hard work. Just like Hopscotch.

Adam Granduciel’s herculean writing and arranging on Lost In the Dream is well documented. He has applied that same intensity to the expanded live show for this tour, which we first caught on back to back dates in March, including the band’s rather hyped cover of “Mind Games”. Not every band’s play for the big time might include a bunch of double-radio-length songs, but not every band is The War on Drugs. What we got here at Raleigh’s Lincoln Theatre was a set that resembled some of what we heard back in March, including the expanded band that includes Jon Natchez on keyboards. A packed and somewhat chatty room got to see the band joined by local music maven Brad Cook of Megafaun on “Ocean” followed by a searing rendition of “Red Eyes” and closing the main set on the album’s title track. The highlight of the encore was another rare cover, Bill Fay’s “I Hear You Calling”, which ended my first night of Hopscotch in exactly the right way. If you don’t see another act this year, go see The War on Drugs, a band whose heart matches their massive sound, bound for the arenas they deserve.

I recorded this set with Schoeps MK41 supercardiod microphones at the soundboard rather than our preferred spot in Lincoln Theatre that is a bit closer. Due to technical issues a soundboard feed was not available, and there is some enthusiastic audience chatter on this that makes the sound inferior to the two recordings from March, though still quite good. Plenty more Hopscotch recordings will be coming 0ver the next month or so as well. Keep your eyes on this space.

This recording is now hosted on the Live Music Archive.  Download the complete show via these links: [MP3] | [FLAC]

Stream “I Hear You Calling” [Bill Fay]

Stream the full set:

Note: All of the material on this site is offered with artist permission, free to fans, at our expense. The only thing we ask is that you download the material directly from this site, rather than re-posting the direct links or the files on other sites without our permission. Please respect our request.


The War on Drugs
Hopscotch Music Festival
Lincoln Theater
Raleigh, NC USA

Hosted at
Recorded and produced by acidjack

Schoeps MK41 (DINa, at SBD)>KCY>Z-PFA>Sound Devices USBPre2>Edirol R-44 [OCM]>24bit/48kHz WAV>Izotope Ozone 5 (effects)>Audacity 2.0.3 (fades, mix down, tracking, amplify, balance, downsample, dither)>FLAC ( level 8 )

Tracks [Total Time 1:32:48]
01 Burning
02 Comin’ Through
03 Eyes to the Wind
04 Under the Pressure
05 In Reverse>
06 An Ocean In Between the Waves
07 [banter]
08 Brothers [with Brad Cook of Megafaun]
09 Baby Missiles>
10 Suffering
11 [banter2]
12 Red Eyes
13 Lost in the Dream
14 [encore break and segue music]
15 Disappearing
16 Your Love Is Calling My Name
17 I Hear You Calling [Bill Fay]

If you enjoyed this recording, PLEASE SUPPORT The War on Drugs, visit their website, and buy Lost In the Dream from Secretly Canadian

The War on Drugs: March 20, 2014 Bowery Ballroom – FLAC/MP3/Streaming

March 24, 2014

[Photos from the 3/19 show courtesy of P Squared Photography]

My thoughts on The War on Drugs don’t differ much from those expressed in nyctaper’s review of the previous night, but I do think some things bear repeating. Nine times out of ten — more like 95 times out of 100 — worthy bands who toil in the trenches don’t make it. One thing doesn’t go right or another. Maybe there’s a lack of commitment on someone’s part. Or a lack of confidence. Or, in most cases, a lack of pure dumb luck.

We’ve posted a lot of recordings of this band over the past few years not because we thought one day they’d be able to way-sell-out three nights in a row here in New York, which they just did, but because we believed they were worthy. As a fan, your biggest hope always ought to be that the band you’re rooting for makes it. For Adam Granduciel, who toiled for over a year creating his magnum opus Lost In the Dream, it didn’t yet seem to have sunk in that his band had. He showed a bit of nervousness before kicking off the opening number, “In Reverse”, but after that, this show unfolded like the victory party it was meant to be. Compared to night one at the Bowery Ballroom, the band was looser and more poised, playing one song after another as easily as “Suffering” transitioned straight into “An Ocean In Between the Waves”. Just as heavily-produced album tracks like “Under the Pressure” shone as rendered live, so too did re-arranged versions of the band’s classics like a slowed-down “Brothers”. With the bevy of personnel at his command, including a saxophonist, the band’s more complex numbers took on a Destroyer-like caste at times (we’ve recorded WoD opening for them). Granduciel makes that work, too, being the kind of musician who can add complexity without letting it turn to overindulgence.

Normally when you can hear a crowd screaming at the stage between songs it’s mindless heckling; if you listen closely to this recording, what’s being hurled at Granduciel are compliments on the album. This was that kind of show, right through Granduciel acknowledging the fakeness of encores, asking for the lights to go up some so he could read the lyrics to John Lennon’s “Mind Games” (streaming below) a bit more clearly. The War on Drugs may be critical darlings now, but this is isn’t overnight success. This is it being done the old fashioned way. The kind that lasts.

I recorded this set from my usual spot in the venue with Schoeps MK5 cardiod microphones and a stereo soundboard feed provided by house engineer Kenny. The sound quality is outstanding, marred only slightly by light static during two songs. Enjoy!

Stream “Mind Games” [John Lennon]

Stream “Under the Pressure”

This recording is now hosted on the Live Music Archive.  Download the complete show via these links: [MP3] | [FLAC]

Stream the complete show:

Note: All of the material on this site is offered with artist permission, free to fans, at our expense. The only thing we ask is that you download the material directly from this site, rather than re-posting the direct links or the files on other sites without our permission. Please respect our request.


The War On Drugs
Bowery Ballroom
New York, NY USA

Exclusive download hosted at
Recorded and produced by acidjack

Schoeps MK5 (DINa, balcony, LOC)>KC5>CMC6>Sound Devices USBPre2 + Soundboard (engineer: Kenny)>>Edirol R-44 [OCM]>2x24bit/48kHz WAV>Adobe Audition CS 5.5 (align, adjust levels, mix down, compression, fades)>Izotope Ozone 5 (EQ, effects)>Audacity 2.0.3 (track, amplify, balance, downsample, dither)>FLAC ( level 8 )

Tracks [Total Time: 1:39:24]
01 In Reverse
02 Baby Missiles
03 [banter]
04 Under the Pressure
05 Suffering>
06 An Ocean In Between the Waves
07 Eyes to the Wind
08 Red Eyes
09 Come To the City
10 Brothers [Slow Version]
11 Burning
12 [banter2]
13 Lost In the Dream
14 [banter3]
15 Mind Games [John Lennon]
16 Coming Through
17 [banter4]
18 Arms Like Boulders

If you enjoyed this recording, PLEASE SUPPORT The War on Drugs, visit their website, and buy Lost In the Dream from Secretly Canadian.

The War On Drugs: March 19, 2014 Bowery Ballroom – Flac/MP3/Streaming

March 23, 2014

[photos by PSquared Photography]

The War On Drugs new album Lost In The Dream is a record that can only be adequately described in grand sweeping terms. This release is not simply in the “best of 2014” discussion, it will be considered one the best of this decade. There have been some lofty review ratings posted for Lost this week, and much effusive praise, but as we have chronicled the growth of this band and Adam Graduciel over the last five years, the album is a natural progression for a group whose two prior records were each superb. But Lost In the Dream changes the equation and ups the ante for The War On Drugs. The ten songs on this album are each microcosms of the work as a whole — the struggles and doubts of a man in his mid-30s grappling with passage of youth and the inevitable approach of middle age — each set to haunting and evocative melodies that echo in the ear even after moving on to the next track. The stories of Adam’s obsessions with the minutiae of the production of this albums have all been told. The man truly suffers for his art. But ultimately the musicianship finds itself equal to the songcraft. Lost is the first War On Drugs album where the songs are given a chance to breath and step outside themselves to reach remarkable crescendos. The lazy term would be that the songs “jam”, but these aren’t improvisations instead rather meticulously crafted passages. For instance, “Eyes To The Wind” hits its peak with a screaming guitar solo that segues to sax and then piano and back to guitar seamlessly and almost without the listener recognizing the lead change.

For the band’s current tour, Adam has assembled the core band but has added two ringers, multi-instrumentalists John Natchez and Anthony LeMarca. We attended the Bowery Ballroom shows on Wednesday and Thursday and if the album truly deserves the superlatives so in fact does the live show. On Wednesday, The War On Drugs worked through the entire Lost In The Dream (minus one instrumental track) and selected classic material in a 100-minute set that was stunning in its ability to not only capture the magic of Lost but expand upon its instrumental passages. We have never seen Adam more confident and in charge and on stage the band’s mood appeared both celebratory and all-business. There was even a champagne bottle poured into cups on stage on Wednesday. But if there is any sadness in this band’s triumph, its that this is almost certainly the last time The War On Drugs will play a room the size of Bowery Ballroom. Given how quickly and thoroughly the three NYC shows sold out, the band could have played five local shows without an empty seat. As the tour continues West and then ultimately moves to Europe, we expect that The War On Drugs will return to NYC in the Fall.

I recorded this set in our usual manner in this venue – Sennheiser cards mounted in the balcony and mixed with an excellent board feed, this time mixed by the band’s FOH C. Laszlo Koltay to perfection. The sound quality is superb. Enjoy!

Stream “Eyes To The Wind”:

Stream “Suffering”:

Download the Complete Show [MP3] / [FLAC]

Note: All of the material on this site is offered with artist permission, free to fans, at our expense. The only thing we ask is that you download the material directly from this site, rather than re-posting the direct links or the files on other sites without our permission. Please respect our request.

The War On Drugs
Bowery Ballroom
New York, NY

Digital Master Recording
Soundboard + Audience Matrix

Soundboard [engineer C. Laszlo Koltay] + Sennheiser MKH-8040s > Edirol R-44 (Oade Mod) > 2 x 24bit 48kHz wav files > Soundforge (level adjustments, mixdown, set fades) > CDWave 1.95 (tracking) > TLH > flac (320 MP3 and tagging via Foobar)

Recorded and Produced
by nyctaper

[Total Time 1:39:47]
01 In Reverse
02 Baby Missiles
03 Under The Pressure
04 Suffering
05 [banter – Sore Eros]
06 Eyes To The Wind
07 [banter – dad]
08 An Ocean in Between the Waves
09 Disappearing
10 Red Eyes
11 [band introductions]
12 Brothers
13 Burning
14 Lost In The Dream
15 Comin Through
16 I Was There
17 Come To The City
18 Black Water Falls

If you download this recording from NYCTaper, we expect that you will PLEASE SUPPORT The War On Drugs, visit their website, and purchase Lost In The Dream from Secretly Canadian Records [HERE]. Seriously, if you don’t already own this album, do yourself a favor and buy it.


Megafaun: September 8, 2012 Hopscotch Festival Day Show (Raleigh, NC) – FLAC / MP3 / Streaming

September 14, 2012

[Photos by acidjack]

Megafaun are one of several Triangle-area bands that have gone national recently, and they are also one of our personal favorites. Since being introduced to the band when they opened for fellow Triangle-area band The Mountain Goats, and our own Sharon Van Etten, we have followed their progress to becoming a headliner and national act in their own right with pleasure. But on their home turf, Megafaun aren’t just an up-and-coming act from out of town; they are stars in their own right. The Americana-driven band was the centerpiece and part sponsor of this outdoor day show on the final day of the Hopscotch Festival, and they brought with them several other bands we’ve been longtime fans of: Oneida, Mount Moriah, and the db’s. Coming on last, Megafaun arrived to a teeming and rowdy crowd that was as thrilled as I was to see them joined by not only the improvisational drummer Chris Corsano, the Nashville-based guitarist and Lambchop member William Tyler and Adam Granduciel of The War on Drugs. Clearly feeding off of the energy of the crowd, the band gave us a rollicking hour-plus set that didn’t shut down until the band said so. We have watched the band move from a trio to a touring foursome already, but with the additional players rotating in and out of the cast, Megafaun became a Southern juggernaut. With Graduciel onstage, the band performed a “cover” of the The War on Drugs’ “Brothers” with Graduciel on vocals. Lighting up the streets of Raleigh with their all-American charm and good humor, Megafaun ruled this day, and inaugurated the final day of the Hopscotch Festival as no other band could.

I recorded this set with a soundboard feed provided by the extremely professional and high quality staff of North State Sound, together with Schoeps MK5 mics in the omnidirectional setting to provide a live feel. This show is, as the band says themselves, mixed on the fly, and you will hear some occasional fluctuations in levels and instructions from the stage, but it is a very strong recording and document of this day. Enjoy!

Stream “Kaufman’s Ballad”

Stream “Brothers” [The War On Drugs]

This Recording is now available for Download in FLAC and MP3 at [HERE]

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Check out all of NYCTaper’s Hopscotch Festival recordings

Note: All of the material on this site is offered with artist permission, free to fans, at our expense. The only thing we ask is that you download the material directly from this site, rather than re-posting the direct links or the files on other sites without our permission. Please respect our request.

Hopscotch Music Festival Day Party
Raleigh, NC USA

Exclusive download hosted at
Recorded and produced by acidjack

Soundboard + Schoeps MK5 (omni, 3ft split, slightly ROC)>KC5>CMC6>Sound Devices USBPre2>>Edirol R-44 [OCM]>2x24bit/48kHz WAV>Adobe Audition CS 5.5 (mixdown)>Audacity (set fades, tracking, amplify, balance, downsample)>FLAC ( level 8 )

Tracks [Total Time 65:54]
01 [intro]
02 Scorned>
03 Heretofore
04 [banter]
05 Kaufman’s Ballad
06 The Fade
07 [banter]
08 Second Friend
09 His Robe
10 [banter – intro Chris Corsano and Adam Granduciel]
11 Get Right
12 I Was There [The War on Drugs]
13 [banter]
14 Real Slow

If you email nyctaper for access to this recording, we expect that you will PLEASE SUPPORT Megafaun, visit their website, and purchase their official releases including their latest album Megafaun from Hometapes Records [HERE].

The War On Drugs: July 21, 2012 Mulcahy’s Wantagh NY – Flac/MP3/Streaming

August 13, 2012

[photo by Patrick Barthel]

The Shine A Light Music Festival took place a few weeks back, and we’ve already posted the Luna reunion (here). As our regular readers are aware, The War On Drugs is one of my favorite current bands. The addition of this set to the site is by no means an afterthought, but the result of a discovery. Due to technical problems, I had written this recording off as a non-post, but after a re-listen and re-evaluation this week, the sound quality is far above what I expected. The show was also something special. The War On Drugs arrived early at the gig and had already soundchecked by the time I got there and set up. The band was interacting and mingling with all of the members of the Tommy Brull Foundation for several hours before their set, so that by the time they took the stage The War On Drugs felt like they were playing to friends. The show contained a nice mix of their material, but also some entertaining banter, a “guest” guitarist, and even some gentle ribbing of nyctaper.

I recorded this show with the Sennheiser 8040’s on-stage and running through the snake and mixed with a board feed. Unfortunately, there was a problem with the phantom power of the mics, so this set is the straight board feed. Its not optimal for sound quality, but its certainly a good listen. Enjoy!

Stream “Coming Through”:

This recording is now available for download in FLAC and MP3 at [HERE].

Note: All of the material on this site is offered with artist permission, free to fans, at our expense. The only thing we ask is that you download the material directly from this site, rather than re-posting the direct links or the files on other sites without our permission. Please respect our request.

War On Drugs
Shine A Light Festival
Wantagh, NY USA

Digital Master Soundboard Recording

Soundboard > Edirol R-44 (Oade Concert Mod) > 24bit 48kHz wav file > Soundforge (level adjustments, mixdown, set fades) > CDWave 1.95 (tracking) > TLH > flac (320 MP3 and tagging via Foobar)

Recorded and Produced
by nyctaper 2012-08-11

[Total Time 1:16:58]
01 Best Night
02 Coming Through
03 [banter – Dylan email]
04 Baby Missiles
05 Your Love Is Calling My Name
06 The Animator
07 Come To The City
08 [banter – Chris Mullin]
09 I Was There
10 [banter]
11 Brothers
12 [banter – Neil]
13 Taking the Farm
14 Black Water Falls
15 A Needle in Your Eye No 16

If you email nyctaper for access to this recording, we expect that you will PLEASE SUPPORT The War On Drugs, visit their website,  and purchase their latest album Slave Ambient from Secretly Canadian Records [HERE].

Tommy Brull Foundation Concert Announcement: War On Drugs and Dean and Britta July 21 in Wantagh

April 30, 2012

We are so pleased to be able to announce today that the Tommy Brull Foundation will present the 2nd Annual Shine A Light Festival on July 21, 2012 at Mulcahy’s in Wantagh on Long Island. This year’s roster of bands includes co-headliners (and nyctaper favorites) The War On Drugs along with Dean and Britta. Wormburner will also appear again this year in an encore performance from last year’s Festival.

The Tommy Brull Foundation is a remarkable organization set up to celebrate the life of Tommy, who died far too young. The Foundation’s mission includes assisting persons with disabilities in the greater Nassau County area. The proceeds from last year’s Shine A Light Festival were donated to Camp Anchor, a summer camp for disabled youth in Lido Beach. The Camp is special to the Foundation in large part because Tommy actually worked there. We were involved in last year’s Festival, which included performances by Deer Tick and Wormburner, both featured on nyctaper.

Tickets for the July 21 event went on sale this morning through Ticketfly [HERE].

The Facebook invite page for this amazing show is [HERE].

Mulcahy’s is in Wantagh on Long Island. It is reachable by the Long Island Railroad, and the venue is right across the street from the Wantagh station. See you there!

The War On Drugs: April 8, 2012 Bowery Ballroom – Flac and MP3 Downloads + Streaming Songs

April 12, 2012

[photo by David Andrako]

Its hard to be objective when a band personally dedicates a song to you by name from the stage of Bowery Ballroom, but The War On Drugs show at Bowery was beyond the need for personal puffery. At an hour and forty minutes, and including in the setlist virtually everything the band has recorded, this War On Drugs set was epic. While David Hartley’s bass guitar has always been the backbone of the live band and his work on this night was superb, its hard to fathom the extent of the confidence and maturity that has Adam Granduciel now exhibits. Throughout the show, Adam’s delivery of each song was intense. While the band has reached a level of proficiency that often follows groups that tour extensively, the recent success seems to have propelled their energy to the next level. Opening with the double whammy of “Arms Like Boulders” and “Baby Missiles”, the momentum never let up. Slave Ambient was universally acknowledged as one of the best albums of 2011, and its prominence in the song selection was no surprise. But it was the development of the songs in the live setting that impressed — “Your Love / Animator / Come To the City” is now a twenty-plus minute segue, while “Best Night” (streaming below) is now charged up enough to be the next song that WOD plays on television. The show would not be complete without an inventive cover, and on this night it was from the Scottish indie troubadours The Waterboys, the classic “A Pagan Place” (also streaming below). The War On Drugs will be active on the Festival circuit this Spring and Summer, dates are here.

I recorded this set from our standard balcony location with the Sennheiser 8040s mixed with an outstanding board feed and the sound quality is superb. Enjoy!

Stream “Best Night”:

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Stream “A Pagan Place” (Waterboys cover):

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This Recording is now available for Download in FLAC and MP3 at [HERE].

War On Drugs
Bowery Ballroom
New York, NY USA

Digital Master Recording
Soundboard + Audience Matrix

Soundboard + Sennheiser 8040 Cardioids > Edirol R-44 (Oade Concert Mod) > 2 x 24bit 48kHz wav files > Soundforge (level adjustments, mixdown, set fades) > CDWave 1.95 (tracking) > TLH > flac (320 MP3 and tagging via Foobar)

Recorded and Produced
by nyctaper 2012-04-11

[Total Time 1:39:35]
01 [introduction]
02 Arms Like Boulders
03 Baby Missiles
04 [banter – quit smoking]
05 Comin’ Through
06 Your Love Is Calling My Name
07 The Animator
08 Come To The City
09 Best Night
10 [banter – Doug Keith]
11 Brothers
12 Taking the Farm
13 I Was There
14 [banter – Mike Scott]
15 A Pagan Place [Waterboys]
16 The History of Plastic
17 [encore break]
18 Black Water Falls
19 [banter – brisket]
20 Buenos Aires Beach
21 Its Your Destiny

If you email nyctaper for access to this recording, we expect that you will PLEASE SUPPORT The War On Drugs, visit their website,  and purchase their new album Slave Ambient from Secretly Canadian Records [HERE].

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DISCLAIMER and LEGAL NOTICE is a live music blog that offers a new paradigm of music distribution on the web. The recordings are offered for free on this site as are the music posts, reviews and links to artist sites. All recordings are posted with artist permission or artists with an existing pro-taping policy.

All recordings and original content posted on this site are as live recordings pursuant to 17 U.S.C. Section 106, et. seq. Redistribution of nyctaper recordings without consent of is strictly prohibited. hereby waives all copyright claims to any and all recordings posted on this site to THE PERFORMERS ONLY. If any artist posted on this site requests that recordings be removed, those recordings will be removed forthwith.