[photos by P Squared Photography]
With the newly-released double LP Poison Season, Dan Bejar, aka Destroyer, has absolutely outdone himself. His finest album to date, Poison Season is a lush exploration of Bejar’s psyche, the melancholia of his words a perfect compliment to the abundance of wistful, purposeful arrangements of strings and brass. But if you talk to long time fans, what impresses them most about Destroyer in 2015 is how incredible the live show has become.
This set at Webster Hall couldn’t have been better timed, coming on a Sunday night the day after Bejar’s birthday. His evident good spirits — buoyed by fans singing “Happy Birthday” in the crowd — elevated what already promised to be a memorable evening in front of a sold out crowd. Destroyer on this tour is a full eight-piece band capable of rendering even the most intricate Poison Season arrangements with beautiful detail, as Bejar swoops about the stage in his loose beige overcoat, microphone in hand. His songs, bathed in the soft rock and smooth jazz sounds of the 70s and 80s, have always existed apart from the current moment. It might be that — and the crystal-clear detail and wit of his lyrics — that makes Destroyer so memorable to fans. Rarely if ever do I see grown men singing along with the passion of teenage girls at a Dashboard Confessional show circa 2004, but that’s what Bejar inspired in more than a few pockets of this crowd. Compared to our last outing with the band, at Webster Hall in 2011, this set felt even more confident, complete and assured, with Bejar firmly in command of his vocals without the assistance of the backup singer he had last time. Poison Season is of course the star of this tour, but each night’s setlists bring gems from all over the catalog. In this case, for example: “Rubies” and “European Oils” from 2006’s Destroyer’s Rubies and of course, “Kaputt,” “Savage Night at the Opera” and “Chinatown” from 2011’s Kaputt, and “Shooting Rockets (From the Desk of Night’s Ape)” from the band’s 2008 record Trouble In Dreams.
This was one of those shows where there wasn’t a literal or figurative note out of place, as impressive a technical achievement in the live setting as the production of Poison Season is on the album. It’s hard to pick one or two moment of this over others; what mattered was the cohesion, the progression and the sense of straight-up rightness this set had with it. A band feeling their game, an adoring crowd who knows what they want and is loving getting it, and songs that either revealed new angles or rewarded those who’d studied them for years. Destroyer doesn’t tour often, making each one a treat. This particular outing continues down the East Coast and then on to the West Coast and Europe (check the dates here). However the rest of this goes, it’ll be hard to top this night in New York City.
I recorded this set with a soundboard feed from Destroyer’s FOH (please send his name if you have it) and the Webster house engineer Raphael, combined with Schoeps MK41V supercardiod microphones. The sound quality is exceptional. Enjoy!
Thanks to Merge Records and Dan Bejar for permitting this recording.
Stream the complete show:
New York, NY USA
Exclusive download hosted at nyctaper.com
Recorded and produced by acidjack
Thanks to Merge Records and Dan Bejar
Soundboard (engineers: Raphael and [if you have Destroy engineer’s name, please send!]) + Schoeps MK41V (at SBD, DFC)>KCY>Z-PFA>>Edirol R-44>2x24bit/48kHz WAV>Adobe Audition CS 5.5 (fades, align, mix down)>Izotope Ozone 5 (EQ, effects, compression)>Audacity 2.0.5 (track, amplify, balance, downsample, dither)>FLAC ( level 8 )
Tracks [Total Time 1:12:34]
02 Forces From Above
03 Savage Night at the Opera
04 European Oils
05 Sun In the Sky
07 Midnight Meet the Rain
08 Shooting Rockets (From the Desk of Night’s Ape)
09 Times Square
10 Poor In Love
13 Dream Lover
14 [encore break]
15 Girl In A Sling
If you enjoyed this recording, PLEASE SUPPORT Destroyer, like them on facebook, and buy Poison Season and their other records from Merge Records.