The War on Drugs reminds St. Louis rock is still alive

It was a packed house at The Pageant for the Philadelphia-based rock band The War on Drugs and their opener Lo Moon. Fans packed into the historic St. Louis venue on a Monday night and chattered in anticipation for what was regarded by all to be an epic show.

The opening act, an indie rock band from Los Angeles named Lo Moon, took the stage and kicked the show off with a set made up of songs that were both sad and hopeful. The calm intensity of the band’s music worked perfectly, with many of their songs starting slow and mournfully to only build up into what turns out to be an M83-esque crescendo. I could make endless comparisons of this band to others: they have a dark and funky “jungle” vibe similar to the likes of Rüfüs Du Sol or Glass Animals circa 2014. Their drums often bring to mind the epic rhythms of Phil Collins. They fit into one of my favorite niches of music, where the melody is introspective and hopeful, but the lyrics are often extremely sad. This band’s sound can be compared to a lot of things, but none of the comparisons really capture the full picture of what Lo Moon is bringing to the table. Definitely a band to keep an eye on in the future!

Following the subtle intensity of Lo Moon was the much anticipated headliner, The War on Drugs.

There is a lot less subtlety with them than their opening act. In the spirit of comparisons, I would submit that they sound like if The Killers had a young Bob Dylan as their lead singer. Their drums and guitars often sound cheery and hopeful, and the band in general comes across as a traditional rock band in a lot of ways. Their lead singer and guitarist, Adam Granduciel, stands below a rainbow of guitar pedals, framing him as he jams in the center of the stage. There is a sense of honoring the past of rock-and-roll in their music and the way the seven-member band plays. Their set mirrored the structure of their songs — starting out soft and building towards an intense climax. As the band (and the crowd) heated up, heads began to bang from the stage to the back of the house. With a relatively simple, yet impressive stage design, waves of light washed over the faces of the crowd, mirroring the way the sound was also hitting them in the face.

The band’s precision and their huge success at blending elements from the golden ages of classic and folk rock into more modern anthems take the listener on a sonic journey through time. Be sure the catch The War on Drugs‘ I Don’t Live Here Anymore Tour as it continues across the United States (and a brief run in Europe for festival season this summer) and witness for yourself the epic state of stadium rock in 2022.

Photography by Sean Rider

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