April 5th, 2011 1:00am
They Told Me It Was Clever
Destroyer @ Webster Hall 4/3/2011
Chinatown / Blue Eyes / It’s Gonna Take An Airplane / Downtown / My Favorite Year / Kaputt / 3000 Flowers / Painter In Your Pocket / Suicide Demo For Kara Walker / Song For America // Bay of Pigs
There was a guy next to me for most of this show who was very, very drunk and very, very high and very, very loud. He was also very, very, very into Destroyer and took every opportunity to express this feeling. Between each song he shouted stuff like “I LOVE DESTROYER!!!,” louder and more emphatically as the show progressed. He seemed a bit flustered because no one else would join in. Maybe a little bit more flustered because no matter what he did, Dan Bejar would not acknowledge his existence in any way.
It wasn’t just him, though. Despite a small amount of banter, Bejar seemed almost entirely indifferent to the audience. He was present in his songs, singing the words but doing nothing at all to be theatrical. I’ve seen Bejar perform before as Destroyer and with the New Pornographers, so it wasn’t a big surprise to me, though I think there’s still a part of me that lives with these records and imagines a much bigger, more flamboyant character than the low-key bohemian I see on stage. And of course the Bejar we actually get is very much a character too, albeit a life-size one — he’s iconic, magnetic, fascinating. He seems genuinely shy. I’m not sure if he likes being on stage, but he obviously loves the music. Sometimes it looked like he was happy to just kneel down and watch the musicians play. Even when he was reading his words from a page, he sounded totally engaged in the songs, if not the “performance.” I never got the feeling that he was trying to entertain anyone, but I definitely got the sense that he wanted the music to be as amazing and transporting as possible. This maybe explains why I enjoyed this concert most when I closed my eyes.
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