The Brooklyn Masonic Temple combines dishevelment with grandeur in a way that’s perfectly suited for Destroyer’s sonic sprawl; last night it was the setting for a fantastic show. The set alternated Kaputt tracks with older material, most of which was from Destroyer’s Rubies. Even the newer, sparer tracks acquired some of the “maximum rock” quality in abundance on Rubies, with startling dynamics and exuberant vocal phrasing.
The set had an impressive sense of narrative arc. Beginning a packed show with the muted, glowing “Your Blues” was a punk move; its alien beauty is inviting but also cold. And Dan Bejar is clearly not very comfortable in front of an audience — he performs with this weird thousand-yard stare, always keeping his gaze either above the audience or down at the beers he kept in front of the monitors. As the night went on, though, even disdainful Bejar was infected by the exuberance of these songs.
The highlight was a stretched-out version of Kaputt centerpiece “Suicide Demo for Kara Walker”, which began with several minutes of gorgeous, spectrum-dominating electronic drones produced by the creative trumpet player. It was mesmerizing to hear the song emerge from the drift to become its fascinating self — Bejar’s sour, cryptic observations strangely appropriate for the music’s muscular stomp.