Last night I saw a band you should know the War on Drugs and Sharon Van Etten at the famous Rhino’s stage in my very own neighborhood of Bloomington, IN. Both acts were excellent live and, considering the shitty setting, were able to create a great and intimate atmosphere.
The War on Drugs started off the show, but not after an hour delay after some technical issues with the guitars, which lead guitarist and singer Adam Granduciel called, “a bad April’s fool’s joke.” Once the instruments were ready the band wasted no time in their hour-long set. The band sounded just as noisy, and groovy, as they do on record, which is great considering the difficulties they had to get the sound in the first place. The noise could be a little in your face at times (especially being two feet from the stage!) but fans of their signature ambient rock sound loved it.
After a quick break, and a prime time to snag an awesome War on Drugs shirt, Sharon Van Etten and her band came on stage. Sharon could possibly be the sweetest person I’ve seen perform. When she wasn’t playing she would talk to the audience and crack jokes. She was surprisingly tiny and had one of the cutest smiles I’ve ever seen. She said this was her first time playing in Bloomington and she was having a great time here. When she played however she became focused, turning into the folky rocker that sounded, and even looked, liked a tortured soul. Most of her set was from her latest excellent album Tramp, and the songs sounded just as dark and beautiful live as they do on record, but Sharon is actually a better singer live. She was truly mesmerizing, both in looks and sound, and her stripped-down sound was a nice change of pace from the War on Drug’s heavy sound.
I would normally be more specific about the songs that were played and would put the setlist here, but I cannot find it online and I can’t remember all the songs that were played last night. But that doesn’t matter – all you need to know is that the War on Drugs are awesome and that you need to go out now and buy Tramp.