Dan Bejar, the enigmatic and distinctive Canadian songwriter who has been touring and recording under the name Destroyer since the mid-1990s, will appear at Blueberry Hill’s Duck Room in St. Louis this Friday in support of his twelfth album, ken (2107), one of the most sonically and lyrically rewarding albums of last year. Bejar’s recent songs are alternately anxious and resigned, capturing the zeitgeist of the current geopolitical climate through oddly relatable, stream-of-consciousness introspection. Central Illinois fans of beautifully textured, literary, acerbic and infectious art rock are highly recommended to take a jaunt down I-55 to seek out what promises to be an exceptionally intimate and intense performance.
Destroyer’s music can range from minimal acoustic strumming to a nearly orchestral sweep – with stops at spiky electronica and even an occasional Roxy Music-esque lushness in between – and fittingly, his touring group of multi-instrumentalists is almost more chamber ensemble than backing band. During his last St Louis appearance, at the Ready Room in 2015, the sound expanded and contracted thrillingly behind the eccentric, charismatic frontman as he declaimed lyrics such as, “Blessed doctor, do your worst, cut me open, remove this thirst, hidden, but near, a series of visions, I won't repeat them here, I won't repeat them here” (from his 2006 song “Rubies”).
Through his consistently brilliant and strange music as Destroyer – along with frequent contributions to other projects such as The New Pornographers (along with Neko Case) and Swan Lake – another era may have seen Bejar rightfully ascend to the popularity of consummate rock artists of the past such as Leonard Cohen or even David Bowie, but in the increasingly fragmented and diluted music market of today, he remains relatively obscure. But hey, there’s a bright side – the world’s loss is our potential gain as the blight of the streaming music era sometimes allows discerning audiences the opportunity to experience an artist of Destroyer’s stature up close and personal in a basement in the Delmar Loop.
Destroyer with opening act Mega Bog, 8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 2 at Blueberry Hill Duck Room, 6504 Delmar, St. Louis. For tickets and further information, visit http://blueberryhill.com/event/destroyer/.
Scott Faingold can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org