Even Stripped Down, The War On Drugs Still Sound Expansive In This Intimate Live Session

One of the paramount features of The War On Drugs’ music is how huge and expansive it sounds. That in itself can be easy to achieve, though: Add a bunch of reverb and you’re already halfway there. What makes it work for Adam Granduciel and company, however, is the quality of the performance and songwriting behind the aesthetic. That’s perhaps never been more evident than in a pair of live performance videos the group just posted on YouTube, which see them taking a couple A Deeper Understanding tracks and beautifully stripping them down to their core elements.

Recorded live at BOK, the group’s live-in rehearsal space in Philadelphia, with just four band members instead of the usual six, just drums, bass, keyboard, and acoustic guitar put an earthier spin on “Pain” without feeling like anything’s missing, because as far as I’m concerned, nothing is. They also took a stab at album closer “You Don’t Have To Go,” which sounds more like a soulful alt-country ballad with its new simplified arrangement.

In case you thought that The War On Drugs is capable of doing wrong, these two clips are irrefutable evidence that that’s not the case.

Watch the videos above, check out our review of their tour-opening concert here, and also revisit our conversation with Granduciel here.