Destroyer at The Belmont: Live Review

Destroyer-14I’ll be honest: when I heard that the current Destroyer tour would be a solo endeavor, I felt like the set might not be as powerful as with a full band. That foolish reaction ignored two vital facts: 1) that as the primary force responsible for Destroyer, Bejar, and his songwriting possess much of the band’s power, and 2) many of the band’s most elegant songs are stripped down arrangements. These facts would quickly become clear on Tuesday night as I watched Bejar perform to a crowd of completely engrossed and quietly attentive fans at The Belmont.

Destroyer-3Without a band, emphasis fell completely on the core of Bejar’s songs as he navigated both brand new pieces such as “Bye Bye,” the soft acoustic number from his EP Five Spanish Songs, as well as various album highlights from his repertoire such as “The Music Lovers,” “Your Blood,” and “Chinatown.” But the true delight of the evening came during the encore when Bejar reached back to breakout album Streethawk: A Seduction for the evening’s closer “Virgin With a Memory.” Bejar bantered little with the crowd, crouching down between songs to take swigs from two Heineken tall boys positioned beside the mic stand.

John_Wesley_Coleman-6Earlier in the evening, John Wesley Coleman opened the bill with a set of off-kilter songs about everything from acid to sad clowns. His songs may sound like grungy folk numbers, but Coleman is as punk rock as it gets, performing with a cheap First Act guitar and emphasizing attitude and emotion over traditionally honed sounds. He’s become a mainstay in a town that has always embraced eccentricity and challenging songwriters.

All photos © Bryan Parker & Pop Press International. Click any image to open in slideshow viewer.

About author
Bryan Parker is a writer and photographer living and working in Austin, TX. He is the founder of blog Pop Press International and print journal True Sincerity and recently released his first book, a volume on Beat Happening in the 33 1/3 series.

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