Apparently Destroyer hasn't done too many of these>"/>
Apparently Destroyer hasn't done too many of these solo shows, and when he got onstage last night, he seemed a little bit apprehensive about being up there all by his lonesome with a guitar and a bunch of doe-eyed fans staring lovingly at him. It's gotta be unsettling. I was actually a little disappointed that he didn't bring a keyboard, because it led me to the correct assumption that he would not be playing my all-time favorite song of his, "Queen of Language." He did, however, play a really nice mix of songs, from really, really old ones (including one he recorded for Sub Pop back in the day) to brand-new ones. Between each song, he would bow, his mop of curly hair flopping over his head, then crouch down to take a glug from one of two bottles of Stella he'd stashed in defiance of Washington's dumb no-drinking-onstage law and check out his set list, which I tried to read but could not because it turns out that Dan Bejar's handwriting looks more like some chickens stepped in ink and walked across the paper than actual words. Therefore, I did not get a cohesive set list, so hopefully what I've written down is accurate because this dude has a huge repertoire of songs that spans well over a decade, and I am not familiar with every single last one of them. If I missed a song or two that you remember, please leave it in the comments and I will add it to this post. Thanks, lovelies.
Anyhow, he opened with "Helena," from Streethawk: A Seduction though, and played "Beggars Might Ride" from that record as well. He then carried on to play some songs from Destroyer's Rubies, including "Your Blood," "Painter in Your Pocket" and "Watercolours Into The Ocean." But the highlight of the set for me is when he played "Destroyer's the Temple," which comes in a close second after "Queen of Language" as my favorite song on Thief, which is possibly my favorite Destroyer album, though I'm not sure if I can say that definitively because they are all so good and fairly similar to each other. Throughout the whole thing, the crowd remained pretty much silent; it was almost as reverent as the crowd at Iron & Wine, though one drunk girl behind me did express her undying love and affection for Dan Bejar rather loudly a couple of times. Which was fine with me; it's a sentiment I share. Though I stand by what I said before about Dan Bejar's shows; they're much better if you're familiar with his music already and have the words to some of his songs memorized. Otherwise, if you're just there and not paying close attention to the deceptively brilliant, sometimes cutting-and-often-hilarious lyrics, you might find yourself completely and utterly baffled by this stoic Canadian man with shaggy hair and a nasal voice.
Azita opened, and while I think that her set would have been better if I was familiar with her music (just as Destroyer is better live once you're already familiar with him), I really could not abide her voice. It's a unique voice, and I think it's one of those that you either love for its unique character or find really grating. I landed on "grating." My experience was of a howling pianist who twitched rather oddly in time to the music. It didn't really spark any feelings for me except for bemusement and mild annoyance. I could tell that there were fans in the audience, though (including Dan Bejar himself), but she just didn't it for me. That said, I really do feel that there are some artists you need to hear recorded before you hear them live, and I'd be willing to check out her recordings and see if I like those better. If any Azita fans want to weigh in and tell me what I should listen to first, I'm all ears.
Here are those photos I promised you: