Toronto – Often thought of as the cool one in the New Pornographers, Dan Bejar’s personal band Destroyer was in town on Thursday night to promote their ninth LP – Kaputt. Easily one of my favorite records of the year, Kaputt is one of those few albums you listen all the way through every time you listen to it. Filing into the sold out Lee’s Palace, it was pretty obvious that Kaputt had made a mark on many people as well.
Arriving on stage at around 11 pm, the band started off a Kaputt heavy set with the opening two tracks off the album – Chinatown and Blue Eyes before delivering It’s Gonna Take an Airplane off 2004’s Your Blues. It’s almost funny that Dan Bejar gets a pass on his live show performance because he’s Dan Bejar. Completely disengaged from the audience, the Destroyer front man barely made any attempt to talk to the crowd, often crouched down staring blankly at the crowd in between songs and occasionally reading from a lyric sheet. I get that Destroyer song lyrics are often long, complicated and cryptic, but it’s still something to see someone read off a lyric sheet at a show. However, he gets away with all of this because he is Dan Bejar, the man, the myth – if it was any other artist, I suspect that the crowd would definitely reactdifferently.
Despite the general disinterest from the front man in generating any sort of a stage show, the concert went about smoothly. I guess the music speaks for itself, and the band is tight. The brass section was incredible and highlighted a lot of the songs off Kaputt, which was rather brass heavy. I was kind of disappointed I didn’t get to hear Savage Night at the Opera with it’s New Order-esque guitar riffs, but I’m sure the crowd appreciated Destroyer bringing back select tracks from past albums, such as My Favorite Year and 3000 Flowers. Pairing the older Destroyer tracks with the newer ones created quite a stark contrast I thought, as the older tracks were more guitar heavy, and then the ambient disco beats would start off again and you would be like ‘yep, that’s off the new album’. It’s quite impressive how the band can switch up sounds so easily from album to album. I for one, prefer the latter material.
The set finished off with the epic 11 minute track Bay of Pigs, which has one of the truest opening lines of any song – “Listen, I’ve been drinking” Bejar says, but if that’s all it takes for Dan Bejar and Destroyer to continue to make excellent music, then I say, drink on.
It’s Gonna Take an Airplane
My Favorite Year
Painter in Your Pocket
Song for America
Bay of Pigs