Another year, another Drugcember.
It’s become a holiday season tradition. Last year, the Adam Granduciel-led rock band the War On Drugs played December shows at three local venues, with portions of proceeds from ticket sales and a memorabilia auction benefiting the Fund for the School District of Philadelphia.
This year, the band — winners of the 2018 best rock album Grammy for A Deeper Understanding — are staging what’s being billed as “It’s Another Drugcember to Remember.” On Dec. 29 and 30, the group will play two shows at two Philly venues whose precise identities have not yet been revealed.
Last year, a troika of concerts wound up happening at Johnny Brenda’s, Union Transfer, and the Tower Theater.
To get tickets for this year’s holiday week concerts, fans must enter an internet lottery to see if their number comes up, giving them the right to buy tickets for either of the shows, which once again will partially benefit Philly schools.
This year’s Drugcember is a particularly privileged Philly special, because the dates will be the band’s only 2019 shows. The War on Drugs have played benefits before, such as a September 2017 show at the Dell Music Center in Strawberry Mansion to benefit ex-Philadelphia Eagle Connor Barwin’s Make The World Better Foundation, as well as last December’s shows.
But those gigs were part of the normal touring cycle, marking the beginning and the end of the run for the acclaimed A Deeper Understanding, which found the band growing the audience for its magisterial mood music to the point that they were headlining rooms as large as London’s O2 arena.
These December shows, advertised with a poster of the Phillie Phanatic hoisting Santa’s sled high, poised to deliver the gift of the War on Drugs to a city of Grittys, are isolated events. They’re an opportunity for Granduciel and bandmates to shake the dust off Drugs classics like “Red Eyes” and “Baby Missiles” and also, one hopes, showcase new material that hints at what lies ahead for Philadelphia’s most acclaimed rock band.