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The War On Drugs

The Union 235 North 500 West Salt Lake City, UT 84116 United States View Map

19 Feb, 2022
19 Feb, 2022

Date & time

Sat, February 19, 2022, 7:00 PM MST

Doors at 6:00 PM

Postfontaine and S&S Present: The War On Drugs at The Union on 2/19/22! Get Tickets!

About this event

The War On Drugs has partnered with PLUS1 so that $1 from
every ticket will go to saving lives, revitalizing communities, and
transforming global health through Partners In Health. www.pih.org

The War On Drugs, I Don’t Live Here Anymore: A Foreword

The War On Drugs’ 2017 album A Deeper Understanding, Adam Granduciel
sang about wanting to “find what can’t be found.” In a way, the history
of this band has been a chronicle of their frontman’s ongoing search
for greater meaning. Along the way, they’ve grown with each record. In
the aftermath of A Deeper Understanding, they won a Grammy for Best Rock
Album. The New Yorker called them “the best American ‘rock’ band of
this decade.” Even The Rolling Stones recognized Granduciel’s talents,
inviting him to remix their long lost collaboration with Jimmy Page,
“Scarlet,” which was previously an unreleased gem from Goats Head Soup.

By any metric, The War On Drugs have made it. They are now
firmly embedded in the classic rock lineage. And yet the quest for that
ineffable something continues. In practical terms, Granduciel was
facing a familiar quandary as work began on the new War On Drugs album, I
Don’t Live Here Anymore, in early 2018: What next?

ahead, he was staring down his 40th birthday. He was on the verge of
starting a family. And then there was the extended brotherhood of The
War On Drugs, who had just spent many months on the road gelling into
an excellent live act, as documented on 2020’s Live Drugs. In the
2010s, they had put out three classic studio albums in a row. But now it
was time for a new statement for a new decade.

When he
reflects on the making of I Don’t Live Here Anymore, Granduciel is quick
to talk about the contributions of his bandmates as well as his
trusted co-producer and engineer, Shawn Everett. That doesn’t exactly
square with how we normally talk about this band. Granduciel typically
is portrayed as the loner studio genius diligently pursuing the creation
of heartland rock masterpieces. Think back to the cover of their 2014
breakthrough Lost In The Dream, in which we see the band’s leader
standing in profile, looking pensive but determined.

But the
moments that stand out most from the creation of I Don’t Live Here
Anymore aren’t the solitary ones. For Granduciel, the new songs brought
him back to the very community he had forged with his band.

just reminded me of all the things I love about making music,” he says,
“collaborating with my friends, and letting everybody shine.”

Granduciel sings in “Harmonia’s Dream” — one of the most anthemic
tracks from an album positively bursting with them — “sometimes
forwards is the only way back.” For The War On Drugs, the path forward
started with paring back to the core of Granduciel, bassist Dave
Hartley, and multi-instrumentalist Anthony LaMarca. As winter turned to
spring in March of 2018, the trio retreated to upstate New York to
jam, demo new songs, and deepen their bond.

“Sometimes you have to
just get away from the predetermined roles that each member plays in
the live setting,” Granduciel explains. These sessions proved highly
productive, turning out early versions of some of the catchiest and
most immediate songs on I Don’t Live Here Anymore, including the jangly
“Change” and the pop-banger-in-waiting “I Don’t Wanna Wait.”

was the start of an odyssey that lasted about three years. I Don’t Live
Here Anymore was made in New York City and Los Angeles from 2018
through the early part of 2021, and included stopovers at iconic
studios like Electric Lady in Greenwich Village and Electro-Vox in
Hollywood. (Granduciel, as always, is a loyal patron of some of rock’s
greatest sonic workshops.)

One of the most memorable sessions
occurred in May 2019 at Electro-Vox, in which the band’s entire line-up
— rounded out by keyboardist Robbie Bennett, drummer Charlie Hall, and
saxophonist Jon Natchez — convened to record the affecting lead-off
track and first single from I Don’t Live Here Anymore, “Living Proof.”
Typically, Granduciel assembles War On Drugs records from reams of
overdubs, like a kind of rock ‘n’ roll jigsaw puzzle. But for “Living
Proof,” the track came together in real time, as the musicians drew on
their chemistry as a live unit to summon some extemporaneous magic. The
immediacy of the performance was appropriate for one of Granduciel’s
most personal songs to date.

The songs on I Don’t Live
Here Anymore were not written specifically about the pandemic. But at a
time when we’re all starting to finally reunite with friends and family
members, this record feels extra resonant. Who doesn’t feel right now
like they’re entering a new phase of life? Who isn’t looking toward the
horizon with a mix of fear and excitement?

The joy of this album
is that The War On Drugs aren’t just exploring these themes lyrically.
The sound of I Don’t Live Here Anymore also captures the exhilarating
uncertainty of dusting yourself off and taking your first steps into a
larger world. Musically, this is the most rousing and upbeat War On
Drugs album yet. The kind of music you want to play with your friends,
arm and arm, as you steel yourselves against whatever’s coming. It’s

Of course, there are also the sort of introspective
ballads the band is known for, like the folkie “Rings Around My Fathers
Eyes” and the gorgeous “Occasional Rain,” which Granduciel considers
his personal favorite. But the bulk of I Don’t Live Here Anymore unfolds
like a collection of future greatest hits. “Victim” is an electro-pop
killer that could put The War On Drugs in dance clubs. “Wasted” slams
like a lost Born In The U.S.A. outtake. The title track, which is
littered with Dylan references, sounds like it was designed in a lab to
shake the rafters in an arena.

As always, Granduciel is a master
of crafting singular moments that take your breath away. The guitar
solo in “I Don’t Wanna Wait.” The mammoth synth hook in “Harmonia’s
Dream.” The stunning piano coda from “Change.” The sultry backing
vocals from special guest stars Lucius in “I Don’t Live Here Anymore.”

And then there’s “Old Skin.” I don’t want to spoil it for first
time listeners, so I’ll just say this: Wait for when the drums come in.
It’s the best and most uplifting moment on the record.

Or maybe
it’s the final verse of “Old Skin” that deserves such a distinction.
It’s where Granduciel seems to find that special something:

Well there’s a price for everything

That tries to pull us all apart

So take control of anything

That tries to kill you from the start

But I ain’t sure of nothin’ babe

Till I can feel it in my heart

keep coming back to it as a record of movement,” Granduciel concludes,
“of pushing forward, of trying to realize that version of our most
fulfilled life, in spite of forces at every turn pushing down and
trying to break you.”

Sometimes you hear a record that makes you
feel — if only for an hour or so — that nothing can break you. I Don’t
Live Here Anymore is that kind of record.

— Steven Hyden, June 2021

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