Posted in music | pictures on April 4, 2011

photos by Amanda Hatfield, words by Bill Pearis

Destroyer

Destroyer's new album, Kaputt, is Dan Bejar's grandest musical statement to date, resplendent with horns and bubbling sequencers, bringing to mind Roxy Music, The Blue Nile and even Steely Dan. In order to replicate Kaputt's lush sound, Bejar put together the "Destroyer Orchestra," an eight member band more than up to the task, as heard last night (4/3) at Webster Hall.

Much credit for this should be given to saxophonist/flautist Joseph Shabason and, in particular, trumpet player J.P. Carter who is like the Kevin Shields of trumpet players. Carter ran his instrument through a couple delay/loop pedals, making it sound epic and weird and amazing. It mixed with the sax and lead guitar to form this sonic swarm that hovered around the songs all night. It was rather magical, so much so that Bejar spent much of the time not singing crouched down, swigging his drink and quietly digging this world of sound he helped orchestrate.

The rest of the band brought the laid back groove, so prevalent on Kaputt of which we got all but two songs (No "Savage Night at the Opera" or "Poor in Love.") "Suicide Demo for Kara Walker" and Kaputt's title track were especially good. The expanded line-up also elevated older songs in the set like "Painter in Your Pocket" that was transformed into a lost Al Stewart single from 1978. (Dan Bejar has always kinda been the indie Al Stewart.) The only thing missing was Sibel Thrasher, whose vocals are such a big part of Kaputt. Keyboardist Larrisa Loyva sang her parts ably, but lacked Thrasher's gravitas and soul.

The night's showstopper came with the encore -- the nearly 15 minute "Bay of Pigs" which was released as a single in 2009 and closes the album. Bejar needed a lyrics sheet, but much of the crowd didn't. A group of girls next to me shouted out the lyrics with the kind of enthusiasm you half expect the taciturn Bejar to display. I'm pretty sure it was that group of girls who launched a pair of undies onto the stage. Bejar smiled, and gave them to the saxophonist who proceeded to throw them back into the crowd. He's just not that kind of frontman.

The War on Drugs opened, but I missed them entirely. We have pictures of them though, More pictures from the whole night, Destroyer's setlist and video of "Painter in Your Pocket", below....

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Destroyer - "Painter in Your Pocket" @ Webster Hall 4.3.2011

Destroyer - Webster Hall 4.03.2011 Setlist
Chinatown
Blue Eyes
It's Gonna Take an Airplane
Downtown
My Favorite Year
Kaputt
3000 Flowers
Painter in Your Pocket
Suicide Demo for Kara Walker
Song for America
Encore: Bay of Pigs

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Comments (36)

war on drugs is always a good time...

Posted by Anonymous | April 4, 2011 10:16 AM

They were good. Destroyer sucked.

Posted by Anonymous | April 4, 2011 10:20 AM

does that setlist look short?

Posted by Anonymous | April 4, 2011 10:21 AM

Destroyer was terrific.

Posted by Anonymous | April 4, 2011 10:28 AM

War on Drugs destroyed Destroyer!

Posted by Anonymous | April 4, 2011 10:33 AM

BEJAR BEJAR BEJAR

Posted by Anonymous | April 4, 2011 10:42 AM

Wait a minute! WAIT A MINUTE!
WHAT DOES THIS HAVE TO DO WITH THE LCD SOUNDSYSTEM REUNION TOUR!!?!?!?!??!???

Posted by Anonymous | April 4, 2011 11:07 AM

destroyer killed it. sax dude in particular although reminded me of this at times:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mKSyPoxzT6w

Posted by Anonymous | April 4, 2011 11:12 AM

for me- a sleepy show all around..or maybe that was me. sleepy/ a full week of shows caught up with me.

Posted by Anonymous | April 4, 2011 11:15 AM

Was this the sexy saxman saxogram show?

Posted by hummusman | April 4, 2011 11:16 AM

What a happy family.

Posted by Anonymous | April 4, 2011 11:21 AM

I didnt see frohawk at the show, and I know he loves war on drugs.

Posted by Anonymous | April 4, 2011 11:28 AM

most docile crowd ever.

Posted by Anonymous | April 4, 2011 12:46 PM

most docile crowd ever.

Posted by Anonymous | April 4, 2011 12:47 PM

Bejar was boozing Hard during the entirely too short set

Posted by Anonymous | April 4, 2011 12:49 PM

bay of pigs was Awesome

Posted by Anonymous | April 4, 2011 1:01 PM

"most docile crowd ever."

Well, look who was playing. I mean, c'mon.

Posted by Anonymous | April 4, 2011 1:08 PM

Bejar is a fascinating guy. I find myself tolerating behavior from him that typically would drive me nuts. He almost completely ignored the crowd. As soon as he finished a song, he crouched on the ground to drink multiple shots and beers, and sometimes did so in the middle of a song. When not singing, he faced away from the crowd. He started slurring his words toward the end. And his interaction with the crowd was extremely limited.

And yet, I enjoyed the show! I strangely admire his lack of concern about how his antics will impact the audience.

Musically, the set was very good, but I agree with the above poster it was a bit sleepy. I'm actually pretty astounded that this kind of sound drew such a crowd - although very nice music, it's NOT catchy and you really have to pay attention to the subtleties of the songs to appreciate them. That the show was sold out was pretty reassuring - I guess some folks still like interesting acts (as opposed to the LCD's of this world).

Posted by Anonymous | April 4, 2011 1:08 PM

love the record, but after seeing him on the last New Pornos tour I didn't think I could stomach a full set of his apathy for the fans. so i skipped. womp womp.

Posted by Anonymous | April 4, 2011 1:21 PM

have you heard abouot that artist who has the same name as Bejar? He's started dressing like him and everything.

Posted by Anonymous | April 4, 2011 1:30 PM

great show last night. War on Drugs was not as solid as I'd hoped, but I still enjoyed it alot. Destroyer was great.

Posted by bunny | April 4, 2011 2:05 PM

....to the guy that was shooting the Nikon with the sb-800 on it, let me give you some tips. get yourself a fast lens....85mm 1.4 or 1.8, maybe even the 105mm 2.8. rent one from adorama if you don't want to buy them. plus the ISO performance on Nikons blow away Canon so you can still shoot at 1600 or above and get great shots.

Trying to throw that speedlight that far is getting you nothing and your camera is expecting the help on the exposure (and it's not getting it)...maybe another 1/2 stop of light and plus youre mixing another color temperature source into the mix as well. the poor people in front of you were getting blasted by the majority of your flash all night.

just some helpful hints from your friendly neighborhood spiderman.

Posted by p.parker | April 4, 2011 2:11 PM

I was into Bejar's "fuck it" attitude, but was surprised at how many annoying "bro's" were in the crowd. Or maybe I was just irritable in my post-LCD fatigue.

Posted by Anonymous | April 4, 2011 2:20 PM

Dan is basically a highly functioning alcoholic, and usually I don't care. The presence is still pretty fascinating. I saw him a year or two ago playing the Bowery solo, and he actually had to talk more with the crowd then to his own surprise. The disinterested affect is his brand.

Nevertheless it sucked to watch him forget lyrics and trail off in the middle of songs because he was so drunk.

Posted by Anonymous | April 4, 2011 3:26 PM

Worst show. I have loved Destroyer since the 90's. Never seen them live and was super looking forward to it. If you have to bring a lyric sheet out on stage to read from while you sing on a SONG YOU WROTE, maybe don't play that song. I love drinking beer and whiskey immensely. But if I am going to sing that bombed it will be at karaoke where it is totally acceptable to have a lyric sheet in front of you. Total let down.

Posted by Anonymous | April 4, 2011 4:51 PM

Yo! Screw you man! I love Destroyer! If you don't like it, then don't waste our time.

Your opinions are for shit, thus.......

NO SOUP FOR YOU! HAHAA

Posted by Anonymous | April 4, 2011 4:55 PM

maybe Destroyer doesn't write his own songs... hmmm? hmmmmmm?

no soup for you.

Posted by Anonymous | April 4, 2011 4:58 PM

Has anyone heard about the Oceans 14 sequel? Is it true or a rumor?

That said... great show last night!

Posted by Anonymous | April 4, 2011 5:10 PM

"If you have to bring a lyric sheet out on stage to read from while you sing on a SONG YOU WROTE, maybe don't play that song."

He's been doing that with the same songs every night on this tour. I think it's a weird joke.

Posted by Anonymous | April 4, 2011 5:17 PM

that's a dumb joke.

no soup for you!

Posted by Anonymous | April 4, 2011 5:21 PM

GREAT SHOW!

Posted by Anonymous | April 4, 2011 6:48 PM

Kinda off topic but I was at this show and the whole time I was next to this couple that was not only talking, but was talking about TMI info. She said something like "when we get home we're going to smoke so much pot." Yeah you're cool sis

Posted by Anonymous | April 4, 2011 7:34 PM

Elmer was there

Posted by Anonymous | April 4, 2011 9:24 PM

the show was tight yo

Posted by Anonymous | April 4, 2011 9:40 PM

i dont think i should have to pay for a performer's apathy. great artist. terrible stage presence and a strong distaste for the core people that support his art and pay for tickets.

Posted by Anonymous | April 4, 2011 10:45 PM

Destroyer played Philly Monday nite, April 4th and publicly said "It's nice to be in Philly after spending 12 hours in fuckin' New York!"

Posted by Lou Seed | April 5, 2011 11:39 AM

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