by Daniel Colussi | It was only last week that Destroyer wrapped up their Never Ending Tour in support of 2011′s very fine long player, Kaputt. Over the last eighteen months, Dan Bejar and ace backing band, The Kaputt Players, have criss-crossed the North American and European continents, hitting all the major festivals and too many seedy clubs to count. From Coachella to Utrecht, their focus remained the same: bring Kaputt to life every night. But now the tour’s finished and their last official band duty of 2012 is to DJ at The Waldorf this Wednesday night as a benefit for the Portland Hotel Society. The timing couldn’t be better; having lived a communal life on the road and spent nights in dark clubs only to walk out and see the sunrise (or not rise), the band is perfectly positioned to convey the madness and immorality of the road life through a carefully curated selection of mood music. I spoke with guitarist Nic Bragg and organizer Amber Webber about what to expect. Read on…
Nic give me some perspective on what a Destroyer DJ might consist of. We’re like marauders, we’re seasoned old dogs. We just got back from a tour in the land of no sun – Scandinavia – and the cold hard streets of Helsinki, where everything gets really real in a hurry. It’s enough to destroy your mind when you’re living on a bus and you wake up in a new city, and you’re never quite sure how you got there. So for me, I’m going to recreate some of the feelings of being out on the cold streets of Copenhagen, looking into the eyes of Scandinavia. I’m going to be playing wax. My set is going to be golden nuggets, I’m going to have some soul music, some blues, because my tour persona is smokestack, as in the song Smokestack Lightning, as in Lightning Hopkins, probably the best blues guitar player that’s ever influenced me. And a little bit of the crazy vibe of the Muscle Shoals, which I’m addicted to.
So the tour itself is going to inform your playlist? On tour, at the end of the night, after the after-party, the band is still just sitting on the bus playing tunes off Bejar’s iPod, because he’s still trying to teach us what it’s like to listen to jazz music.
Give me just one tour tale that’ll help attendees get into right frame of mind on Wednesday. A crazy thing happened to me in Stockholm. We wake up on the bus…everyone’s groggy. Usually Ted has already scoped out where the best coffee in town is, the best thing to get your life back on track, to find out where you are. The good thing is that when we play these clubs they’re usually in the bourgeois centre of town. So we find the place, we all enjoy some delicious coffee and as I’m coming out this woman starts speaking to me in Swedish. And I’m like, I’m sorry I don’t speak Swedish I just speak English, and she said, Oh no that’s the wrong answer. And then she asks me, How long are you going to be in Stockholm? And I say, I’m only here for six hours, and she says, Oh no that’s the wrong answer. So I had to ask her, What is this? And she says, I’ve been following you and I want to cast you in a Swedish television commercial and you’re perfect for the part. So I just said, Look I’m sorry I don’t speak Swedish and I’m leaving town after the show. But of course I had to ask her, What is this for? What am I perfect for? And she says, The commercial is for a person who loves to go to the racetrack and gamble on horses. So who knows, I could’ve stayed behind and made my career as a two-bit actor in Swedish TV commercials, and that’s the thing, when you’re on tour everyday something could change your life, and that day it happened to be that one thing. Read more
There is currently a campaign underway headed by ex-Vancouver musician/performer/personality Robert Dayton to raise funds for a first time ever vinyl pressing of the long lost, legendary Points Gray recordings, a bummer acid folk trio that consisted of Dayton and Julian Lawrence (of July Fourth Toilet) and Dan Bejar (Destroyer!). As Dayton explains in the video above, the late 90s were a heady time in Vancouver music, and Points Gray tapped into the pre-milleniall paranoia of Vancouver.
Sounding much like acid-damaged ESP-Disk 60s freak-out band The Godz, but with a more West Coast vibe, Points Gray anticipated the basement mould, bad street drugs and rising real estate that now (partially) define the Vancouver experience. Donations can be made at the Points Gray Indie GoGo page, and the clock is ticking: 56 days left and approximately $4000 left to raise. Let’s make it happen!
by Daniel Colussi | Vancouver favourite son Dan Bejar is not shy about his love of New Order. They’re his first love after all, and 2011′s meisterwerk Kaputt was positively dripping with the epic sweep and existential dread synonymous with the group. So it’s fitting that the Destroyer frontman was commissioned by Mojo Magazine to cover Leave Me Alone, the final track from Power, Corruption And Lies, as a celebration of New Order’s reuniting. Bejar’s treatment is faithful, and yes, loving. While I can’t say that New Order taking another kick at the can is all that exciting to me (especially since bassman Peter Hook isn’t involved), hearing Bejar take on this killer track from one of the most definitive albums of the 1980s is still what I call rad.
[top left image via Color]
Zulu Records veteran and tunage aficionado Daniel Colussi is the Music Editor of Scout Magazine.
Savage Night At The Opera | Destroyer
Remember back in 2009 when we posted that awesome 1978 film called “Rendezvous”? In it, French film director Claude Lelouch bolted a camera to the front bumper of his Ferrari and had a still anonymous professional Formula 1 driver tear through the heart of Paris at death-defying speeds running red lights and nearly killing dawn’s pedestrians in order to meet up with his girl. It was brilliant. Anyhow, director David Galloway’s new music video for the Destroyer song Savage Night At The Opera was clearly inspired by Lelouch – red lights and all – only it’s Vancouver and not Paris, a motorcycle instead of a Ferrari, and a woman doing the driving instead of a man (the dude she meets up with and hugs in the end is Destroyer front man Dan Bejar). The ride starts in Railtown/Gastown and ends up in Stanley Park. Hold on! This equals amazeballs!
‘Tis the time for lingering late on house decks and restaurant patios, staying long at farmer’s markets and BBQs, and forgetting the time in clouds of weed smoke at outdoor festivals that pop up like mushrooms in almost every neighbourhood. July has to be one of the best months going in Vancouver, and we’re stoked to be here for all the awesome things that this particular one has to offer. Here are five:
They don’t play all that often, so it’s a really good month when you can say you’ve been to a Destroyer gig. Destroyer plays the Biltmore July 17th and I’m telling you now because it will sell out. Get it together – head to Zulu for a tickets.
Outstanding in the Field
There are few events in the year that I look forward to more than Outstanding In The Field. It’s expensive – lets get that little detail out of the way right off the bat. 200 beans for dinner and you have to bring your own plate (and bug spray) – but its worth it. One hundred times over. Outstanding in the Field is a mid summer feast, complete with linen table cloths and wine pairings, that magically materializes (with the help of a troop of culinary gypsies) in a field or meadow close to the city for only one night and vanishes without trace by the next morning. Read all about it on a previous Scout post here. This month Vancouver’s UBC Farm (July 19) and Pemberton’s North Arm Farm (July 18) are hosting the event – so you have two chances to take part. We might see you at both…
There is something quintessentially Vancouver about Folk Fest. Even if you’re not in to folk music, a summer evening in Jericho Park with music flowing, patchouli in the air, and a little sand between your toes gets pretty awesome fast. It’s as close to Woodstock as we’re going to get – and a little Woodstock is good for everyone. The 32nd annual Vancouver Folk Festival runs July 17, 18, 19 and will include 60 artists from 14 countries. Whet your palate with the lineup for the evening of Friday July 17th: a few sets by Canadian “Punk-inflected folk rock” band The Weakerthans followed by Texan folk/alternative band Iron and Wine with Arrested Development to finish. Dude. Other acts that promise a good show: Ontario’s Great Lake Swimmers (Catcher Song is a good slow-summer-evening-with-a-bourbon kinda song – see above); local band The Breakmen and their toe-tappin’ country twang; Mark Berube & the Patriotic Few, from Quebec (but a regular on the Vancouver scene) and known for “sophisticated folk, savvy writing, stirring vocals and impeccable delivery”; and Vancouver Alt/Latin band Pacifika. For the complete lineup and ticket info visit the Folk Fest website.
Illuminares Lantern Festival
Also known as the Trout Lake Lantern Festival - this is one of the best summer festivals going. Thousands of people gather at dusk with handmade lanterns and wacky costumes to float through the trees and across the lawns of Trout Lake Park in a slow moving procession of faeries and all manner of otherworldly creatures. The fun really begins when the sun goes down. Fire jugglers, musicians and dancers entertain as you admire lanterns and light installations situated throughout the park grounds. It’s sort of like stumbling into a dream (or a really mellow acid trip), a magical way to spend a summer evening. The Festival was put on the shelf last year due to a lack of funding – so if you make it this year be sure to drop a toonie in the donations bucket, as it takes an awful lot of hours to organise faeries. The 20th annual Illuminares Lantern Festival will be held on July 25th 2009 at 6 PM – 10 PM. We’ll see you there.
One final thing to secure July as the most kick-ass month on the calendar: The Diamond is finally open. I’m thinking the cool summer breezes that slip through the cobblestone streets of Gastown will turn the open window tables at The Diamond into portals that lead to a sanguine dimension (Well, that and the cocktails…). The Diamond is located at #6 Powell Street at the corner of Powell & Carrall and is open Wednesday to Sunday 5:30pm to Midnight.
Michelle Sproule grew up in Kitsilano and attended Bond University in Australia and the University of Victoria before receiving her graduate degree in Library Sciences from The University of Toronto. She lives by the beach in Vancouver and enjoys wandering aimlessly through the city’s shops and streets with her best friend – a beat up, sticky, grimy, and uncooperative camera.
This is the 33rd interview of what we hope will be 500 profiles of people who have made life in BC that much more interesting. At the rate we’re going it’ll take three years, in which time we’ll probably just start shooting for 1,000.
Once or twice a week Scout poses 60 questions to a different individual. They pick and choose which ones they’d prefer to answer, with a minimum response rate of 20. It’s some sort of Rorschach test, for sure…
Three things about your neighbourhood that make you want to live there: I live in Cedar Cottage. It is quiet and there is little traffic. Glen Park is nice especially when used as a venue for LARPing. The Georgian Baguettes at the European Bakery on Fraser deserve high praise. Also, I would be remiss not to sing the virtues of the Cedar Cottage Café, Pub and cold beer shop.
Default drink: Pisco Sour or more realistically a Stella.
Drink you’ll never have again: Pernod or any other Abinsthe substitute.
Favourite Vancouver bridge: Burrard Street Bridge solely because it has that secret room up top.
Best Vancouver patio: Six Acres when open.
One thing you’d like to change about Vancouver: Liquor licenses here make it fairly impossible for a new club to open and the new wave of architecture doesn’t trend towards performance spaces either.
Favourite place to see a band: Malkin Bowl is a nice spot.
Book you’re reading: Trying to swim into the deep waters of Roberto Bolano’s Savage Detectives.
Last place traveled: Family trip to Burrowing Owl Winery and then on to Nelson.
The view from your favourite window: The lookout at Harbour Centre.
Musical instrument you long to play: My friend Ted Bois has an amazing Wurlitzer 200A piano; I wish I had the skills to play it.
The scariest situation you’ve ever been in: Hold up.
Best concert experience ever: Tie between MBV/Dinosaur/Yo La Tengo at the Commodore in and Galaxie 500 opening for the Cocteau Twins.
Best record label: Pound for pound I think Matador Records in NYC has put out the best records of the last 20 years but really Chicago’s Drag City wins as they gave us Will Oldham and Bill Callahan.
The thing that makes you the most nervous: Rats.
Town you were born in: Buenos Aires.
What are you listening to as you answer these questions: I’m on track three of M.Ward’s latest opus Hold Time.
Album that first made you love music: Television Marquee Moon.
The thing you’re addicted to: Americanos at Re-Entry.
The game you’re best at: Cribbage, Ricky and Chess.