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Transmission
« 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 »

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