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« Contest: Dance to DeVotchKa @ House of Blues, 3/31/11 Color Radio: An Interview in Four Parts »

Concert Thu Mar 31 2011

Review: Destroyer @ Lincoln Hall, 3/29/11

[This review was contributed by Gapers Block: Tailgate writer Brian Lauvray.]

It's about 20 minutes since Dan Bejar and his revolving cast of musicians that he and we call Destroyer have left the stage. He's outside crouched and cramming instruments into the tour bus. "Bejar, do you need a hand?" I shout. "No, I'm OK, man. Thanks for coming out." We chat for a few minutes about the times I've seen Destroyer in Chicago — in 2005 as an opener for The New Pornographers, in 2006 as a solo act at the Abbey Pub, '06 again at Pitchfork, '08 at the Logan Square Auditorium, '09 (solo) at the Empty Bottle and now, tonight, at Lincoln Hall.

Every Destroyer show is a great show. The sound engineering, the tunings, the aural roar and the measured silences are amazing. From a technical standpoint, the proficiency of the sound engineers, the musicians, even Bejar's patented slurring, sliding and "La-la-la-la-la-ing" his way through his songs, were all top-notch, exactly what one expects for a Destroyer show. The venues are the non-constant in this equation, and the venues are more often than not the culprit. This evening — and caveat, oh, please, caveats, dear reader — the rote predictability of the venue, the audience, the set list, me bitching about "rote predictability" all converged to make for merely an "OK" Destroyer show.

Bear in mind, this isn't a bad thing necessarily. An OK Destroyer show still batters the ever-loving stuffing from most shows, it was just, y'know, a relatively sterile venue jam-packed with holier-than-thou college kids (yes, in 2001 when Streethawk: A Seduction came out, I, too, was a holier-than-thou college kid.) The set list, consisting nearly entirely of Destroyer's latest Kaputt, was simply just not enough to showcase the voluminous back catalog of Bejar. Nor, did it highlight the uniqueness of the musicians as in shows past — typically there have been impossibly stripped down versions of (Bejar solo) or jazzed, tweaked, and more "rocktacular" versions of originally bare songs. There were a few moments like that, the version of "It's Gonna Take An Airplane" was unbelievably cranked up and rocked out version that bore little resemblance to the barren, acoustic version from Your Blues.

Still, the setlist, the ambience, the crowd — it mattered little when able to witness the sly and winking lyrics of Bejar converge so perfectly with such a tight band. An OK Destroyer show was more than enough on a random Tuesday night in March.

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Feature Thu Dec 31 2015

Our Final Transmission Days

By The Gapers Block Transmission Staff

Transmission staffers share their most cherished memories and moments while writing for Gapers Block.

Read this feature »


  Chicago Music Media

Alarm Magazine
Big Rock Candy Mountain
Boxx Magazine
Brooklyn Vegan Chicago
Can You See The Sunset From The Southside
Chicago Reader Music
Chicagoist Arts & Events
Chicago Music Guide
Chicago Singles Club
Country Music Chicago
Cream Team
Dark Jive
The Deli Chicago
Jim DeRogatis
Fake Shore Drive
Gowhere Hip Hop
The Hood Internet
Jaded in Chicago
Largehearted Boy
Little White Earbuds
Live Fix Blog
Live Music Blog
Loud Loop Press
Oh My Rockness
Pop 'stache
Pop Matters
Resident Advisor
Sound Opinions
Sun-Times Music Blog
Theft Liable to Prosecution
Tribune Music
UR Chicago
Victim Of Time
WFMU's Beware of the Blog
Windy City Rock


Abbey Pub
Andy's Jazz Club
Aragon Ballroom
Auditorium Theatre
Beat Kitchen
Bottom Lounge
Buddy Guy's Legends
The Burlington
California Clipper
Concord Music Hall
Congress Theater
Cubby Bear
Double Door
Elbo Room
Empty Bottle
Green Mill
The Hideout
Honky Tonk BBQ
House of Blues
Kingston Mines
Lincoln Hall
Logan Square Auditorium
Mayne Stage
The Mutiny
Old Town School of Folk Music
Park West
The Promontory
Red Line Tap
Reggie's Rock Club & Music Joint
The Riviera
Thalia Hall
The Shrine
Symphony Center
Tonic Room
Uncommon Ground
The Vic
The Whistler

  Labels, Promoters
  & Shops:

Alligator Records
Beverly Records
Bloodshot Records
Dave's Records
Delmark Records
Drag City
Dusty Groove
Flameshovel Records
Groove Distribution
He Who Corrupts
Jam Productions
Jazz Record Mart
Kranky Records
Laurie's Planet of Sound
Minty Fresh
Numero Group
mP Shows
Permanent Records
Reckless Records
Smog Veil Records
Southport & Northport Records
Thick Records
Thrill Jockey Records Touch & Go/Quarterstick Records
Victory Records

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Transmission is the music section of Gapers Block. It aims to highlight Chicago music in its many varied forms, as well as cover touring acts performing in the city. More...
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