Live Review: Destroyer, Rosali; Mild High Club Sunday at Slowdown…

Category: Blog,Reviews — Tags: , , , , — @ 12:13 pm April 29, 2022
Destroyer at The Waiting Room, April 28, 2022.

by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com

I found out late yesterday afternoon that members of the David Nance Group would be backing last night’s opener for Destroyer at The Waiting Room — a performer who goes by the name Rosali. And sure enough, on stage playing to a crowd of less than 50 was Rosali (a.k.a. Rosali Middleman of the band Long Hots) with local heroes David Nance on bass, Jim Schroeder on lead guitar and Kevin Donahue on drums. Colin Duckworth joined them later in the set on pedal steel and banjo.

Turns out that Rosali’s 2021 album, No Medium, was recorded by Schroeder sometime during the pandemic with these guys backing her in the studio (along with contributions by Daniel Knapp, Simon Joyner and Conor Oberst). I’m listening to the album as I write this via Spotify (I wanted to buy a vinyl copy last night, but no one was manning her table and the Destroyer merch person wouldn’t sell it to me, so what are you gonna do? I’m betting I can pick up a copy at Grapefruit).

Rosali at The Waiting Room, April 28, 2022.

Her singing reminded me of just about every female vocalist on my list starting with Aimee Mann, followed by Joni Mitchell, Mary Timony, Natalie Merchant and Linda Thompson. Her at-times thin but tender voice was held in the finest contrast by this band, which still managed to blaze even when holding back in the quietest moments. The set really showcased Schroeder’s guitar work — beautiful, soaring solos that hissed and moaned at every turn. Gorgeous stuff, and just as gorgeous on the album that’s bound to be on my favorites’ list (though it came out last year).

By the time Destroyer came on stage at 9:15 sharp, the room was filled but nowhere near capacity, maybe 150 like the last time the band came through in 2018. Unlike that night, when Dan Bejar looked bored and listless, last night he was in top form (though never looking as if he was having fun, but maybe he never looks that way).

Bejar fronted one of the finest collections of musicians I’ve heard perform at The Waiting Room, at every position. The standouts were (again) that trumpet player, who continuously mixed his sound with effects pedals that turned his trumpet into an echoing dream corridor. That trumpet is so central to Destroyer’s sound that I can’t imagine these songs without it.

Just as remarkable was the band’s rhythm section – rarely does a bass player grab my attention, but this guy was just fire, as was the drummer. Add to that two fantastic guitarists and a rollicking keyboard player and you’ve got an amazing collective whose dreamy sound was like listening to a midnight stroll down an empty city street.

The set opened with a couple songs off side one of the new album, Labyrinthitis, before dipping into the Destroyer’s catalog. Set highlight for me was a killer version of “Times Square” from 2015’s Poison Season, as well as set closer “Kaputt,” which is becoming something of a greatest hit for Bejar. Great night!

Destroyer’s partial set list from the April 28, 2022 show at The Waiting Room.

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I’m happy I went out on a school night for Destroyer/Rosali because there ain’t squat going on this weekend show-wise.

The only thing of interest is goofy pop act Mile High Club, a band that (to me) sounds like modern yacht rock for a new generation (and in some ways, would fit right in next to Destroyer). The band rolls into The Slowdown Sunday night supporting their latest, Going Going Gone (2021, Stones Throw). Also on the bill is quirky JW Francis (Sunday Best Recordings). Omaha rockers Garst open at 8 p.m. $25.

That’s all I got. If I missed your show, put it in the comments section. Have a great weekend.

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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2022 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.

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