Destroyer is for the ladies. Not that there weren’t a fair amount of fellas in the audience last night at the Larimer Lounge, but the “bandonym” of Vancouver songwriter and sometime-New Pornographer Dan Bejar incessantly addresses female subjects: we heard odes and entreaties to Nicole, Tabitha, Candice, the hangman’s daughter, the wealthy dowager, Helena, Contessa, and probably a handful more. Bejar’s handsomely disheveled looks coalesced with his shrill yet lecherous vocals to add to his appeal with the ladies in attendance -- my date included.
Armed with one Guild acoustic guitar and three drinks, Bejar took the stage for a solo run through the abundant wealth of his back catalogue. “I realize some of this doesn’t make sense,” quipped Bejar after performing the stripped-down crowd favorite “Chinatown.” True, some of the numbers with more ornate recorded versions (“European Oils,” “Chinatown,” “My Favorite Year”) sounded off with just voice and guitar. When a crowd member sarcastically called out for the 12-minute electronica epic “Bay of Pigs,” the typically reserved Bejar laughed and retorted “It's possible 100 years from now people yell out ‘Bay of Pigs’ instead of ‘Freebird’ at concerts.”
But the vast majority of the songs succeeded as unplugged incarnations, in large part because of Bejar’s voice, tremendous ability for lyrical prose, and disregard for songwriting convention. Highlights included the jaunty “Your Blood” and “To the Heart of the Sun on the Back of the Vulture, I’ll Go,” which sounded just as formidable as its louder recorded counterpart. Destroyer’s music is nothing if not verbose, and luckily, the intimate setting of the performance allowed the audience to catch Bejar’s every word. Though the back crowd occasionally grew a bit chatty, the louder parts of “Foam Hands” and “Helena” captivated all eyes and ears. Even the most talkative members of the audience couldn’t help but pay attention to the man standing resolutely before them, shining with more than enough confidence in his ability as a writer and performer to showcase his songs stripped to their bare bones.