Destroyer @ the Troubadour, 5.19.08 / by laurel

Dan Bejar of Destroyer at the Troubadour

You know, every time I think I have this concert thing down to a finely tuned art, something or someone goes and throws a wrench in my perfectly laid plans. Sometimes it's the venue; other times it's the parking, or accidentally getting tossed (as James brilliantly pointed out yesterday), or, I guess, actually getting tossed out of the show (which has never happened to me, but heck, I can imagine. Sucks to be THAT guy). 

Last night, Jess and I roused ourselves from our 8 p.m. naps and declared that we are STILL. YOUNG. DAGNABBIT. And headed to the Troubadour to check out Destroyer (Dan Bejar of The New Pornographers' side project). Bejar's elliptical yelps and swooning guitar drive his latest album, Trouble in Dreams, and it was precisely the hope of some comparatively driving live performance that caused us to plunk down our pennies as well as our first born to Ticketmaster and drive all the way out to the Westside (more or less) at 10 p.m. on a Monday night. A snagged spot on Robertson and a whiskey sour later, we wedged ourselves in the back, near the bar (a mistake I vow not to make again, if only for the annoyance of having to shuffle to the side every time a sweaty hipster nursing a hef needs to use the loo). While pushing through the crowds, I was halted by a traffic jam (and since no one really makes eye contact at these gigs, you sort of just wait until someone shoves through and proceed on your merry way). Caught between a post and a paunch, the owner of said 45-year-old gut grinned and slurred, "You can schtand neshxt to me all you want."

Gee, really? Thanks. Good to know there's still at least one decent human being out there. Might want to adjust your bifocals, Uncle Bob, you're skulking around the wrong playground.

I wiggled past, grimacing, and made a beeline to the opposite side of the venue. Right before Bejar et al took the stage, Jess went in search of the restroom while I smugly congratulated myself for my perfect plans, as we'd beat traffic, found parking, and gotten a drink, all in the nick of time. But all work and no play certainly makes Jack a dull boy, and while I watched the roadies bumble about on stage, I felt someone saddle up behind me, all hot breath and bad intentions.

"I'm baaaaaaack," Uncle Bob leered into my hair.  

Oh. Good. Grief. 

Before I could properly vom the contents of my stomach on his company-issue polo, Jess swooped in from out of nowhere and cockblocked his advances. He sulked for a moment before finally slithering off to some other corner of the room and Dan Bejar took that cue to start the show. Good call, Dan. Suriously, homeboy. 

Now let me point out two things right now: I didn't take notes, I can't remember the setlist, and I forgot my camera. I know. Rolling Stone called, they apologized for being so inferior and wondered if I might freelance some of the Awesome for them sometime. Sure, I said. But. But! I did remember every single detail nevertheless and used my formidable Illustrator skills to render the evening exactly as I remembered it (see pic above), minus sweaty Uncle Bob. The set was more keys driven than the album, a little surprise I found quite pleasant in the midst of Bejar's utterly unique vocal deliverance. A note on that as well; Yep, he really does sound just like that. Even when he talks, albeit a bit more scattered and out of breath. 

"Foam Hands" lulled the audience into a trancelike state before he nudged us into a complacent sway with "My Favorite Year," a driving guitar crooner with a JAMC-meets-The Doors tempo. Destroyer played for an hour or so, followed by a three-song encore, and before I knew it, I was strolling back to my car thinking that perhaps my plans weren't thwarted after all.