This Night

Destroyer, with Andre Ethier
Mercy Lounge, Nashville, TN
Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Shortly after I bought my first New Pornographers CD, my stepsister turned me on to Destroyer, Dan Bejar's other band. I fell hard for the whole Bob Dylan does glam rock vibe of Streethawk: A Seduction, so I was pretty jazzed a couple of years ago when the Pornographers came to town with Destroyer as the opening act. But as great as that concert was, I found Destroyer's set to be kinda lackluster. I figured maybe it was because he didn't have his own band (he brought a guitarist and borrowed the New Pornographer's rhythm section), or perhaps it was just an off night. But after Tuesday night's set at the Mercy Lounge, I've come to the conclusion that as great a songwriter as Bejar is, and as fantastic as his albums are, he's just not a very compelling frontman. It's not that I expect every lead singer to be like Mick Jagger live, but you need to do something to engage the audience. It seemed like he spent half his time with his back to the crowd, and the time he did spend facing forward was almost entirely with his eyes closed. It's not that is was bad, but when he announced the "last song" after less than an hour, I felt like I wouldn't have been that broken up if they hadn't come back for an encore.

Fellow Canadian folk troubadour Andre Ethier opened the show with a set that sounded like Crazy Horse playing sea shanties. His songs were great, and he's got a fantastically rich, soulful voice, but the real star of the show was his guitarist. His sound shimmered and shined throughout, and he had the most masterful use of tremolo that I've ever heard. I'd love to tell you his name, but I've spent five minutes googling and came up with nothing. Anyone?

Destroyer - "The Sublimation Hour" (mp3) from Streethawk: A Seduction
Destroyer - "European Oils" (mp3) from Destroyer's Rubies
Andre Ethier - "The Best We Ever Had" (mp3) from Secondathallam

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