by Matt Kelchner
With one of the first crisp fall nights and after days of rain, Destroyer paid a visit to Underground Arts hot on the heels of the release of their tenth studio album, Poison Season. The mastermind behind it all, Dan Bejar, has built and reconstructed the makeup and sonic landscape behind Destroyer album after album. The same continues with their latest release, as well as the tour. Bajer brought with him an expanded band comprised of eight members. Together, they powered through a mighty, although short, set mixed with reworked classics and new favorites.
Kicking things off on Saturday night was singer/songwriter Jennifer Castle. She was joined on stage with a keyboardist who doubled as a flutist and bass player. Castle’s soft, smooth voice blended wonderfully as she gave the packed room a taste of old songs, including “Sailor’s Blessing” from her first album and her latest, Pink City, and the album’s title track.
Bejar has always made a name for himself with deep, almost poetic lyrics that are at times borderline spoken. Behind his vocals have been backgrounds that captures the listener. Much was the same Saturday, but with jolts of energy thanks to the latest lineup of Destroyer. As the beginning of “Bangkok” played, Bejar stood dead center on the stage and was flanked with a trumpet player on his right, and sax player on his left. Behind them the rest of the members were positioned.
From early on in the set, it was clear that there was a lively excitement that moved from song to song. Each and every person, including Bejar, that now makes up Destroyer were so incredibly tight and well rehearsed. The crowd, as they danced, hooted and hollered, gave them the same amount of energy after each tune.
Poison Season was put on full display, but that’s not to say other albums were passed over. Bejar reached as far back as 2006’s Trouble in Dreams. He added selections from the two albums in between them, Destroyer’s Rubies and Kaputt. The highlight of the night captured this mix of old and new perfectly. The one, two punch of “Shooting Rockets” and “Times Square” made up of the climax of the night.
Just as the night was coming to a close, Bejar and company brought things back up with a blaring rendition of “Dream Lover” that wrapped up the night. With ears surely ringing, Destroyer came back out for one final number, “Rubies”. While the night was filled with so many highs, it was hard to find any disappoints. The only one that came to mind was that the night felt too short. But that just leaves us wanting more!