Music isn’t a commodity. It’s a luxury that’s somehow been devalued to the point that a large proportion of the population just stream whatever they want for free and never give the artist a penny themselves. It’s bizarre and it makes me sad, but that’s where we are as a people. Tonight’s Destroyer show is a reminder of how luxurious music can be, a reminder of the power of a group of people coming together and astonishing a crowd with their musical prowess, allowing us to luxuriate in their talent and be entertained for a reasonable (if anything, too little) price.

I was a relative late comer to Destroyer. When Pitchfork started raving about their new album Kaputt in 2011 I was confused; isn’t Destroyer the name of some kind of death metal band? Sure lay I won’t like it? But then I put on the wonderfully titled ‘Savage Night At The Opera’ out of sheer curiosity and woooosshhhh I was swept off my feet and fully in love with everything about it. Dan Bejar’s lyrics were strange and oddly sang, almost speaking them somewhere near the tune, but deeply engaging, and the music around him was spectacular, like some kind of 70s lounge music but propelled by driving percussion and often offset with squalling sax and trumpet. I was in love, and ever since I’ve followed Bejar and his merry band of men and devoured everything he’d done previously.

I say I was a late comer, as before Kaputt, Destroyer had already released 9 studio albums dating back to 1996, and now they have 12 in their back pocket. Tonight’s gig at the relatively tiny-for-them Deaf Institute is in support of their latest, and much under appreciated album, Ken. It’s not that it’s been poorly reviewed, it’s more that critics have somehow taken them for granted and stared saying “this is a very good Destroyer album” and giving them 7 or 8 out of 10, rather than before when they would be all like “THIS IS AMAZING” and giving them 10/10. It’s like saying ‘Let’s Dance’ is just a very good Bowie album after his Berlin run. ANYWAY…Ken is great and I’m very much looking forward to seeing Destroyer in the flesh for the first time.

When Bejar and his band start taking to the stage, it’s almost like watching one of those clown cars where the clowns just keep coming out and you’re left thinking there can’t be any more clowns left to come out, but keep on coming they do. By the time everyone’s on stage, there are 8 people squeezed onto the modest Deaf space, including two guitarists, a bassist, a drummer, a keys man, a trumpeter, a saxophonist (who’s also wielding a FUCKING FLUTE) and of course Bejar himself. There no messing about, they’re straight into ‘Sky’s Grey’ and oh lord it’s magnificent. Bejar’s doing his singy-speaky thing, telling us things like “the groom’s in the gutter, the bride’s just pissed herself”, whilst the band breaks in fully about half way through – the trumpet dude (for he is a complete dude – he’s wearing a fedora and sunglasses) cuts above all else as the whole thing crescendos, and it’s brilliant.

‘Tinseltown Swimming In Blood’ (he’s great at song titles) is extraordinary, starting all New Order with pulsing synths and those signature synth keys, before Bejar crouches down to have a drink and the drummer and trumpeter take over, pummelling a throbbing beat and improvising a sweet brass solo. I close my eyes and get lost in the sheer wonder of the playing of this tight as fuck band who somehow sound loose but you know every single note and beat is in its right place. ‘Kaputt’, with its tales of “chasing girls, ok chasing cocaine, through the back rooms of the world, all night”, and the ridiculously good ‘Savage Night at the Opera’ are both thrilling to hear live, the saxophonist sax-ing the shit out of both, tooting like his life depends on it, the venue barely able to contain the sheer volume of uber-talented musicians all playing perfectly in sync to create a wall of sound so glorious it could make a stone cry.

Most of Ken is given an airing, ‘Rome’ giving us funk guitar and another sax solo, ‘Light Travels Down The Catwalk’ bringing the tempo and volume right down to frame Bejar as a dishevelled lounge lizard, ‘Cover From The Sun’ showing Bejar could write a 3 minute pop song if he wanted to. They end on Kaputt’s final odyssey, the 11 min long ‘Bay Of Pigs’ and it might be one of my favourite gig moments of the year. I’m wallowing in its brilliance, thinking that every gig should have an eight piece band and ecstatic that they’re demonstrating so much craft it makes you feel sorry for other acts. They file off stage to rapturous applause and whooping, only to immediately file back on for a song I’m unfamiliar with but that is also, you guessed, absolutely great.

The point I was making about music being a luxury is brought into sharp focus by this incredible performance from Destroyer tonight. We should never take music for granted, people pour their heart and soul into making art to entertain us, and we shouldn’t luxuriate in that for free. Someone bringing an 8 piece band on tour with them is a labour of love, and we should reward that. Buy a physical album, go see bands live, pick up some merch, pay a streaming site for premium access. This shit is special. Let’s keep it that way.

Destroyer: Official | Facebook | Twitter