One of the most rewarding aspects of organizing a music festival is looking back at past lineups and seeing how some relatively unknown bands have catapulted into much brighter spotlights. One of the most gleaming examples comes in the form of Philadelphia flannel-wearers The War on Drugs, who played to a crowd more than 5,000 strong last week to top off the sixth annual Northside Festival. It wasn’t their first time at it, though. There was that Northside show in 2009 at 150-capacity Union Pool, right before frontman Adam Granduciel booked it to now-defunct DIY venue The Shank to play with his other band at the time, Kurt Vile & the Violators. (What do you mean you don’t remember The Shank? It smelled so funny.)
Two years later, on the cusp of releasing their breakthrough album Slave Ambient, Adam & Co. swung by DUMBO to play their slow-building anthemic sprawls amidst the crap in our office. (Seriously, look at all that stuff in our office!) We loved them then. Just like we loved them in front of 5000+ people last week.