I’ve gone through a few rounds of Destroyer obsessions, sometimes listening to just Your Blues in a loop, other times fixating on certain songs like “Foam Hands” or “Your Blood.” What draws me in every time is Dan Bejar’s bizarre, yet seductive, voice that rambles out lyrics that usually make little sense to me, but have beautiful imagery or charming references to other songs. Like “I gave you a flower because foxes travel light” or yelling out “you can go your own way.”
Last Sunday, I saw Destroyer for the first time, which is basically Dan Bejar’s stage name, play at Webster Hall. He had a very complete band including brass and saxophones to go with his new loungey album Kaputt. It was a low key concert, partly because of my absolute exhaustion from seeing LCD Soundsystem the night before, and partly because Dan Bejar performs like he’s sleepwalking. When singing, he barely looks at the audience and turns his back when playing the tambourine. At a couple of songs, he even grabbed lyric sheets. I couldn’t figure out if this was part of a cool, ambivalent act or not (or the result of the multiple beers and shots of whiskey involved). It did fit with his music, that seems to be sort of thrown off from some precipice, a cliff where Bejar is lounging above the world.
If I wasn’t already deeply attached to this music, I don’t know if the concert would have done much for me. It just seemed a little…routine, like the band was getting through it without a spark. Not like videos I’ve seen of Destroyer playing in previous years that are more passionate. The crowd was also unexpected. I thought it would be mostly women (because, um, have you seen Dan Bejar?) and music nerd guys with thick glasses, but there were a lot of “bro” types throwing their girths around in odd sways resembling dance. Anyway, I did really enjoy hearing the new album live, and also the arrangements of the older songs like “3000 Flowers” and “It’s Gonna Take an Airplane” with the extra instruments. Check out “Painter in Your Pocket” below.