A name often dropped he is decidedly not, but Adam Granduciel should be recognized as one of the most gifted musical titans to emerge in the last dozen years, and I say that with nary a drop of insincerity. His Philly-based ensemble, The War on Drugs, stands out in our current bleak landscape like a Monet in a warehouse of Pollocks. They’ll never be cool, but what they’re doing transcends trends or topicality, reaching instead for unabashed passion, heartfelt expression and musical grandeur. In myriad ways, to my ears they’re sorta like a modern-day American incarnation of The Waterboys, except Mike Scott’s still making largely forgettable Waterboys albums while the ones The War on Drugs are conjuring of late are thrillingly rich, rewarding and timeless. At the Tabernacle on Tuesday.
Loads of fun/killer shows this week: Ron Gallo, Melvins, Lilly Hiatt, The Church, Quicksand and Adam Ant to mention but a few (and there are stories on Melvins and Lilly in our current issue, in case you haven’t noticed). Of special note is Lydia Loveless’s two-night run at the Star Bar, a welcome (albeit brief) return to her barroom roots, complete with her full band and foul mouth. Devon Gilfillian opens Tuesday, while Atlanta’s own Nikki & the Phantom Callers do the honors on Wednesday night. Don’t dilly-dally on these – they’re sure to sell out.