Destroyer | 3.28.11

The sold out show was not about flashy entertainment. Instead, it was about Bejar and his signature folky vocals atop a unique blend of carefully orchestrated, easy-listening jams.

 

 

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 The Luminary Arts Center, St. Louis

Monday night, Destoyer hardly “destroyed”  the Luminary Art Center. However, the low key, smooth jazz made for an fitting addition to the south city venue’s notable ‘Elevator’  Music Series. 

Destroyer’s opener, War on Drugs began with some sound and feedback errors. Once the psychedelic, americana band got into the flow of things, they captivated the audience with their complex guitar parts and front man Adam Granduciel’s Dylan-esque vocal patterns.  

The War on Drugs’ once spacious set up, was quickly replaced by a series of Stag beers lining Destroyer’s vast instrumental maze. If the stage had not seem so cluttered with equipment, it would have made for a great setting for a beer advertisement. Perhaps Stag should look into sponsorship. 

While the tight, semi-circle stage arrangement left ample room for Destroyer poster boy Dan Bejar to sit and sway, the rest of the eight-piece was trapped by towering amps and monitors. 

Bejar, a Vancouver native, could have made more of his space, but instead spent most of the set stationary. The only exception being when he drew out lyrics sheets for “3000 Flowers” and later during the “Bay of Pigs” encore. He read those lyrics like an actor audition for a Shakespearian soliloquy.  

The sold out show was not about flashy entertainment. Instead, it was about Bejar and his signature folky vocals atop a unique blend of carefully orchestrated, easy-listening jams.  

Despite Destroyer’s nine studio album oeuvre, their eleven song set (including the “Bay of Pigs” encore) was heavily dominated by the band’s latest release Kaputt (Merge, 2011). Perhaps this was to incorporate the array of instrumentalists on stage.  

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Saxophonist and flutist Joseph Shabason brought a loungy-Steely Dan sound to some of Destroyers’ folk-pop back catalog, while keyboard and vocalist Larissa Loyva did her damnest to fill-in for Sibel Thrasher’s haunting vocals featured on Kaputt 

The subtle, mellow jams backed Bejar in a way his other band, the New Pornographers, never would be able to. In collaboration with the Luminary’s art gallery setting, the attentive npr audience offered their complete attention to Bejar. Thus, giving him full range to exhibit his offbeat craft on stage. 

Bejar is not concerned with musical trends. If he wants to be sexy, jazzy-folky, he will do just that. On that note, reading lyrics on stage is also acceptable, as long as it is done in a uniquely dramatic manner. Bejar’s off-putting, nonchalant behavior may not have been  acceptable in other circumstances; however, this distinguished musician and performer carries an intentional, avant-garde reverence that has been accepted as a reputable artform. | Kelly Glueck 

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