REVIEW: The War On Drugs, 6 Music Festival, O2 Academy, Newcastle

THE second annual BBC 6 Music Festival landed in Tyneside on Friday night - and what better way to kick-start proceedings than with the group awarded the gong for the station’s album of 2014?

That band was Adam Granduciel’s The War On Drugs, whose serene Americana masterpiece Lost In The Dream was virtually an ever-present on publications’ end-of-year lists, not least Q and Uncut, who likewise handed it their top spots.

The War on Drugs

The War on Drugs

With a ludicrous 5.30pm start time you’d think that half of their crowd would still be sat at work, yet come their entrance gaps were already few and far between, such is the Philadelphians’ growing profile.

It’s a good job too, as their first ever Newcastle appearance was a complete unadulterated triumph; vastly exceeding my, and no doubt others’ reserved expectations.

Whereas the six-piece are a light, breezy proposition on record, tonight’s showing was driven by pure, blissful rock ‘n’ roll vigour; all while retaining the graceful, almost ambient allure which makes their sound so distinctive.

What’s more, at only half an hour, their slot focused firmly on the current LP, with stunners like Under The Pressure and An Ocean Between The Waves each melding into a glorious yet invigorating melodic haze.

Better still, Granduciel and co. are back at the same venue in exactly a week’s time for their own headline show.

You’d best be quick - after this sensational sample, remaining tickets are sure to fly out the door.

* Tune into the 6 Music Festival across the weekend. See performances at www.bbc.co.uk/6music and highlights on the BBC Red Button across the week.