“Sunday night, the wildest of nights…” were about the only words Destroyer’s Dan Bejar mumbled mysteriously into the mic that was directed toward the crowd near the end of their hour and 45-minute set. The Regent Theater in Downtown LA was packed to the brim for their sold-out Sunday night show, and the demographics proved that all music fans young and old are willing to “get wild” by stepping out of their homes on this day of rest.
The seven band members took their places to excited cheers from the crowd as ethereal synths emanated from the stage. Coming off a strong new album release late last month, Have We Met, it was expected that they’d sprinkle some of their new songs into tonight’s set. They opened with possibly one of the strongest tracks on the new album, the album opener “Crimson Tide.” The sea of a crowd was mostly still in the back but bobbed along upfront to the danceable beat. The song grew in intensity ending with a wailing guitar solo and blaring trumpet, as the majority of the songs would end for the rest of the set.
Red lights shone down on the band for the slower, more theatrical “Kinda Dark.” Bejar picked up the tambourine for the latter half of the song, which rolled out into another heavy jam. “The Raven,” he introduced the title of the next song before anthemic drums accompanied by a wash of guitar sound came through.
Although they hail from Canada, Destroyer loves painting a picture of travels to major cities through songs like the sultry “Bangkok.” Likewise, “Times Square” hits what one would expect from the New York music scene on the head with a jazzy trumpet solo and furious drums.
The audience got particularly excited for “Tinseltown Swimming in Blood,” dancing along to the New Order, ‘80s-inspired beat. A favorite moment in that song is when the dreamy wash of sound that comes through as Bejar sings “I was a dreamer/ watch me leave,” over and over again, leaving one wondering what it must be like to see the world through Bejar’s eyes.
Several songs started with Bejar and the keyboardist ringing in the first verse together, and the entire performance was channeling the theatrics of Bowie, but on a subtle, more low-key level. Bejar himself didn’t address the crowd much and spent much of the night crouched near the ground, taking sips of his drink and wrinkling his already wrinkled button-down even more.
Bejar thanked opening act Eleanor Friedberger, for touring with them. The tour is taking them to the Southwest next and will end in May in the UK.
In the Morning
It Just Doesn’t Happen
Tinseltown Swimming in Blood
Suicide Demo for Kara Walker
Canadian Lover / Falcon’s Escape
Savage Night at the Opera
Poor in Love
All Photos by Stephen Hoffmeister