Destroyer’s ‘Dreams’ Find ‘Trouble’ in Chicago

April 18th, 2008: As seen on Archive (PDF)

Ground control tried to touch base with Major Dan Bejar last night (April 17) at Chicago’s Logan Square Auditorium, where scores of indie-literati whooped in glee as the multi-tasking — Frog Eyes, Swan Lake, New Pornographers — Canadian virtuoso surveyed tunes from his eighth studio record, Trouble In Dreams, with team Destroyer — but unfortunately Bejar was lost in rock’n’roll space.

Snaking trademark cryptic verses, Bejar teased the fiction/reality realm with Trouble opener “Blue Flower/Blue Flame,” confiding in the crowd, “A woman by another name is not a woman / I’ll tell you what I mean by that / Maybe not in seconds flat, maybe not today.” It was the only tune of the night that allowed for the same textures laid down in the studio, before touring drummer Scott Morgan mistook the historic ballroom for Madison Square Garden, gorilla-arming over synths and Ebows.

Even Bejar was a bit rock-o-tastic, speeding up rhythms on guitar, shaking his Fraggle Rock mane about a good six tunes into the Trouble-heavy set. And it translated on epic stop-and-stumbler “The State,” madcapping Bejar’s quirky las and das with heel-stomp punctuation. But the onstage ferocity absolutely smothered the sunshine and shadow acoustics of the title track from 2006’s Destroyer’s Rubies.

Towards the set’s tail end, the band was evidently wearing out slightly on filler tracks pulled from nearly every album released by Merge, honors going to the lone encore “Self Portrait With Thing (Tonight Is Not Your Night),” emphasized by Morgan’s supreme dynamics between snare bombs and Bejar’s Shakespearean babble. But be forewarned ticket holders, Bejar is taking very literal cues from the Destroyer moniker this time ’round.

We asked: Considering Destroyer’s latest album title, Trouble In Dreams, what’s the worst nightmare you’ve had?