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Honest Music on a Sunday Night

April 4th, 2011

Destroyer – Webster Hall – April 3, 2011

Destroyer - Webster Hall - April 3, 2011
“Listen, I’ve been drinking,” sang Dan Bejar with a self-amused smirk. The curly-haired enigmatic frontman of Destroyer showed more emotion in this moment, opening a one-song encore of “Bay of Pigs,” than perhaps throughout the rest of the show. And the lyric, like so many of Destroyer’s plainspoken quips, directly related to the night, more so than others. Bejar’s boozy crooning matched with the musicianship of a seven-member touring band delivered honest, if not flawless, interpretations of Destroyer’s strange, varied and brilliant catalog.

Throughout the course of an hour-long set, comprised primarily of songs from the recent smooth-jazz-flavored album Kaputt, Bejar shyly stood front and center of the stage, singing with hands in his pockets. On the occasion of a lyrical break, he kneeled, gazing pensively at the band or no one in particular, and drew slowly from a beer bottle. The resultant effect gave Bejar an air of cool indifference, but this is not to stay that the music suffered. The supporting band was superb, especially the heavily featured horn section, which enlivened every song from show-opener “Chinatown” to “It’s Gonna Take an Airplane,” off Your Blues. But it’s the image of Bejar, quietly crouching in the midst of his songs, that lasts: a character with a unique voice and boundless talent punctuates his genre-defying music. —Jared Levy

Photos courtesy of Charles Steinberg