The War on Drugs at Pier Six Pavilion

Last summer I wound up skipping a lot of concerts that I had tickets to that I didn’t wind up going to because after Delta showed up and it was clear that COVID was not actually gone and my doctor warned me about being very careful not to get it I was too paranoid to go to any of them. Data after the fact seemed to support that it would have been a reasonable thing to do. I’m not actually sure how with the new Omicron variants are making that data hold up for crowded spaces even if they’re outside with how much more transmissible it is, but I also know that it has to lessen the risk and I will go insane if I just lock myself away in my house forever. I was hoping to get back to some indoor concerts too with the way things are I don’t think that’s going to happen any time soon, but I’m not going to sit out my outdoor concerts this summer. (I’m so bummed that I’m going to miss Chvrches again next week. I had tickets to see them in DC right after Thanksgiving when OG Omicron was going crazy and didn’t go. Then they announced they were coming back again after only 6 months which is unheard of to a venue I like much better and I thought it was a sign that we were going to get another summer reprieve, and I was going to get to make up for missing out on the first show. Apparently it was just a sign that I’m too hopeful and willing to get kicked down over and over again.)

So all that being said I went to my first outdoor concert of the season last night to see The War on Drugs at Pier Six Pavilion. It’s a nice little outdoor venue in the Inner Harbor in Baltimore. It was the perfect night for an outdoor concert too. It was also a nice low key reintroduction to concerts for me because unlike everything else I’m going to this one was not close to sold out. I bought lawn seats so that we had control over where were sitting and where in relation to other people with the ability to move if we wanted. Since the show wasn’t sold and the back of the pavilion was particularly empty a lot of people from the lawn went in and grabbed seats because there was no one policing it like at Merriweather and Wolf Trap where you have to show your tickets 50 times to get to your seats. That left the lawn very uncrowded. We had a spot right in the front of the lawn and there wasn’t anyone within 10 feet of us in any direction. I brought a mask but didn’t wear it until we were walking out in the crowd. I’m pretty sure I won’t have nearly that much space at any other show, so this was a nice dipping my toe in experience.

If you’re not familiar with The War on Drugs they’re originally from Philly, but I think they live in LA now. Their album I Don’t Live Here Anymore was my favorite album of 2021. I’ve been a fan for a long time, but this is the first time that I’ve actually been able to see them live because as their lead singer said last night even though we’re from just up the road in Philly we never play down here. It’s sadly true for lots of bands because Baltimore falls within the radius clauses for lots of DC And Philly venues and since those are bigger markets the bands just play there and skip Baltimore.

They’re basically a good old guitar based rock band the likes of which you don’t see too much these days. I love their music, in particular all the guitar sounds. Their songs do tend to have some long instrumental breaks, but they’re contained which in my mind makes them different from jam bands that will take a 5 minute song and turn it into a 25 minute song live. Their songs live were still their songs even if there are stretches that are only instrumental. I appreciate my husband letting me drag him along because I knew he would really not care for this concert. It made me laugh to myself a little because stereotypically if you told someone that one us was being dragged to this concert against their will people would guess that it was me rather than my old, white guy husband.

It was an enjoyable show. They didn’t have an opening act so they had plenty of time to play with and didn’t go on until almost 30 minutes late, which I was annoyed at. I get annoyed at rock and rollers acting like stereotypical rock and rollers, particularly because I’m not used to it. Between festivals and individual shows that are packed to the gills with multiple acts, concerts these days are generally very regimented with strict set times. It’s rare that acts don’t go on when they’re supposed to. They did play for a good two hours though, which is rare because of a lot of shows having not just one, but two opening acts in this day and age. It was perfect chill music to sit outside and listen to on a gorgeous summer night with a couple of songs worth getting up to dance to. It did make me realize that this is the only way I would really ever want to see them live again. They are not a band I would want to stand around in a crowded club or arena and see. They’re definitely a chill out on the lawn and enjoy the vibe band for me. It was a nice way to get back into a full fledged concert season. Looking forward to several shows in a few weeks over my birthday weekend.

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