Destroyer – A joyous celebration of sound

20 years on from their debut album, Destroyer finally made their way to Luxembourg for the first time last night to play Rockhal.

Fronted by Dan Bejar, Destroyer have been on a long and arduous journey since the release of their debut back in 96. Having received plenty of critical acclaim for many of their 10 studio albums, including last year’s “Poison Season” they found it hard to break out to a wider audience.

That was until they finally built on their core following, with their 2011 album “Kaputt” which opened them up to a whole new audience, finding themselves on national TV shows in America for the first time. This success allowed them to become more ambitious on the new record, taking on new elements to their sound.

Support for last night came from American singer-songwriter Ryley Walker who evoked the sounds of the late 60s jazz folk scene, immediately drawing comparisons to the likes of Bert Jansch and John Martyn with his vocal delivery as well as guitar style for a fully accomplished set.

As Destroyer made their way to the stage in an unassuming manner with the house music still playing and just a polite clap from the modest crowd, it’s safe to say that they remain a niche band within Luxembourg.

As frontman Dan Bejar took up his spot centre stage, he was flanked by the 7-piece band although it was evident that our eyes would be drawn to him all night. He used the mic stand as a cane and swayed his body, with his eyes closed most of the time, immersed in the sound as they kicked into “Bangkok” with Bejar taking up an almost crooner style of delivery and pose.

Their sound came across more vibrant and energetic live, accompanied by trumpet and saxophone which sat on top of the driving keys and guitars on “Chinatown”.

With “Kaputt” the cascading guitar riff was punctuated by the soaring trumpet and sax as the dense swell of melody built. The funk groove of “Midnight Meet the Rain” had the sparse audience shuffling on the spot as the sheer joy and exuberance created from the stage filtered its way into the crowd.

The spaced out effects of the warm synths built on “Bay of Pigs” before allowing the rest of the band to return once more in a joyous celebration of sound before finishing on the surprisingly jaunty “Hell”, once more the trumpet and sax created the soundscape for everything else to wrap its warmth around.

It was a shame that a performance like this, with with 8 musicians on stage majestically interweaving their sound, somewhere between rock and symphony, with the set bound by Bejar’s poetic direction was appreciated by so few, when just a few nights’ prior in the same building a performer ran about a huge stage singing to a backing track in front of thousands. I know you shouldn’t compare but sometimes it’s hard not to on nights like last.

14.06.16 – Rockhal


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