Show Review: Destroyer

They encored with "Bay of Pigs."

That's almost all you need to know about the almost-sold-out Destroyer show at the Crofoot's Pike Room on Wed., Mar. 30. We debated whether they would perform the love-it-or-hate-it 10 minute-plus introspective opus and thought, nah, no way. But predictable is not an adjective usually associated with Dan Bejar and Destroyer.

The famously enigmatic Bejar is probably best known as a member of the New Pornographers, one of the most prominent Canadian indie bands today. Destroyer, formed in 1995, actually predates the Pornos by two years. Bejar's prolific discography-- nine studio albums, including this year's Kaputt, three EPs and a cassette-- is as varied as the cast of musicians who have contributed and Destroyer's sound. Descriptions range from European blues to chamber pop to ambient disco to indie rock. CBC Radio 3 even staged a tongue-in-cheek contest that had listeners guessing which of two music clips were Kenny G and Destroyer.

After seeing Bejar appear (sporadically) with the New Pornographers during their show at the Crofoot Ballroom last year, we expected Destroyer would be equally memorable. From the moment Bejar took the stage, cast his eyes to an unseen muse overhead and poured his distinctive singspiel into the mic he held lightly in his fingertips as if it was an expensive cigar, our expectations were right. (And that includes standing behind a giant-sized gentleman with no sense of personal space who kept bumping Yort's arm with his behind as he danced).

What we didn't expect was predictability. Bejar and the band-- David Carswell (the Smugglers, the Evaporators, and with John Collins as JC/DC Studios, producer for many notable indie bands), JP Carter on trumpet (Fond of Tigers) and vocalist Larissa Loyva (Kellarissa), Pete Bourne (drums), Nicolas Bragg (guitar), Joseph Shabason (flute, sax) and the bassist whose identity escapes us -- were note-perfect on every track, which included most of Kaputt plus a few selections from Destroyer's Rubies, Trouble in Dreams and Your Blues. But we had the sense that the band never deviates from those notes. For a live show-- and a very good live show, don't get us wrong-- it was just a little too rote.