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....
War on Drugs
Destroyer - "Painter in Your Pocket" @ Webster Hall 4.3.2011
Destroyer - Webster Hall 4.03.2011 Setlist
It's Gonna Take an Airplane
My Favorite Year
Painter in Your Pocket
Suicide Demo for Kara Walker
Song for America
Encore: Bay of Pigs