Destroyer / Jennifer Castle

Theatre Fairmount, Montreal QC, October 1

Photo: Courtney Baird-Lew

BY Courtney Baird-LewPublished Oct 2, 2015

In theory, Destroyer's latest full-length Poison Season —  part chamber pop, and part Sinatra-inspired ballads infused with '70s rock — shouldn't work, but it does, and he brought it life yesterday evening, (October 1) at the Fairmount Theatre.

Opening for Destroyer was the enigmatic, Toronto-based Jennifer Castle. Performing tracks off of her recent, Polaris Music Prize-nominated LP, Pink City, Castle's delicate blend of country-folk-pop cast a hazy spell over the crowd, who stood nodding, captivated mostly but chatting occasionally. Filling the dark, newly renovated space with a nostalgic glow, Castle and her two band mates glided through their set, stopping only to tune a chord or exchange a nod. Undeniably talented, Castle's lilting vocals and melancholic tunes made the opening set undeniably sweet — if anything, it would have been nice if she had a little more time.
Taking to the stage shortly afterwards, Bejar and company launched straight into a smooth, powerful rendition of "Bangkok." Surrounded by a semicircle of talented musicians and cloaked mostly in darkness, with minimal lighting, Bejar's magnetic, Leonard Cohen-esque presence took on a subdued, theatrical tone. While there were no red curtains flanking the stage, and while the theatre looks like more of a club than a "theatre" in the traditional sense, Bejar still managed to draw the entire crowd's attention to him, only giving over the spotlight occasionally to his explosive sax player. Hunched slightly forward with eyes closed, Bejar took the audience on a trip not only through Poison Season, but earlier albums like Kaputt, Trouble in Dreams and Destroyer's Rubies; the track "European Oils," off the latter, was one of the evening's undoubted highlights.
Planted in their respective spots for the entire set, Destroyer's performance radiated a contagious energy; the excited crowd of hardcore fans danced with abandon, completely absorbed by their performance from start to finish. Beginning slow and building up momentum until the very end of their well-paced set, Destroyer finished with a performance of "Kaputt" and "Dream Lover," leaving the audience buzzing even after the stage lights went out.

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