Destroyer / Hudson Bell
Café du Nord
May 8, 2006

Review by Jake Thomas

Destroyer has been one of my very, very favorite bands for the last few years but this was my first time actually getting to see them play. Every other time they've come through town I've either been out of town or spoken for at some other event. I think there was even one occasion where I actually had a ticket to see them play and I forgot it at home and no matter how much I love a band I ain't paying to see them twice for the same outing.

Anyways, I actually made it to the club this time, excited as a kitten in a yarn factory. I was coming from playing in a rec-league basketball game so I only caught the last couple of songs of my homeslice Hudson Bell. I've seen him play multiple times, but it had been well over a year since the last time. I've always liked his recorded output but his live shows can sometimes get a little out there, making all manner of a racket from his guitar like a deranged Neil Young despite knowing his songs fairly well there have been times I've seen him and not recognized anything he played. But this was different this was by far the most straight-forward I've ever seen Hudson and his band perform, with a little sonic-freakery in short bursts but all of those moments well within the confines of a normal song structure. I haven't heard his newest album yet outside of a couple of tracks on the internet, but those combined with the Built-to-Spillish rock I heard on this fine evening tells me I need to get my sorry ass to the record store and procure his newest offering.

In one way, and only one way, was this performance by Destroyer a disappointment at no point, unless my memory is failing me, did he play any songs from 'Streethawk: A Seduction', which by my estimation is one of the finest albums of the last 10 years. But they played nearly all of the new record 'Destroyer's Rubies', and in their impressive catalogue I might actually rank this release second after the afore-mentioned masterpiece. I've heard a number of times that the band's live shows can be hit-or-miss, but this one is definitely a hit. Everyone seemed real in-tune on stage and Dan Bejar's nasal-drenched vocals treated me the right way. The crowd was seemingly quite into the whole affair, and this one cat pogoed like a punk rocker for the duration of the event, it made me tired just looking at him. He must have calves of steel. Nothing exceptional happened, no equipment fuck-ups or surly bandmates or flying zombies swooping in to eat the children, just an exceptional night of solid rock by a band that deserves a much larger audience. Not since the days of Bowie and Bolan has anyone gotten this brand of glam-rock so right.

Read our previous Hudson Bell reviews
Review: November 6, 2002 @ Hemlock Tavern
Review: October 9, 2002 @ Make-Out Room
Photos: September 7, 2002@ Hemlock Tavern