Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Spoon @ 9:30 Club

Two of three Rockists ventured to the 9:30 Club to catch Spoon's scheduled-cancelled-tentatively rescheduled-then-officially rescheduled set on Tuesday. We braved the insanity that was trying to simply hang on to previously legitimately purchased tickets. I had predicted it would be a total cluster-you-know-what, and it wasn't. It was actually not even sold out. Quite roomy inside, but enough of a crowd to feel full and substantial.

Perhaps because of the absurd ticketing procedures, Spoon maybe figured that only folks who really wanted to see the band would be there. So they ran through a chronologically-oriented set that began with "If You Say So" from Soft Effects and the short, spastic "Utilitarian" from my favorite, the short, spastic A Series of Sneaks. They ran through big chunks of Girls Can Tell, hitting the biggies ("Anything You Want", "Fitted Shirt", "Me and the Bean") and delivering a searing performance of "Small Stakes" that could've/should've gone on another 3 minutes. But Spoon are the rare band that can spend an entire song building tension, then never quite give you the release you're looking for, and "Small Stakes" teased around its menacing, conniving little keyboard riff before Britt Daniel did his version of a guitar solo (stabbing at a guitar, pointing it towards the amp). We were left practically begging for a second go at it, one more round of verse/chorus/guitar-squal/yelp (an audience member even yelled "play that one again!"), but, hey, that's Spoon.

"The Way We Get By" followed, and there wasn't quite the eruption there usually is for this song. I'm thinking this points to an audience of more serious fans, more excited about, say, an all acoustic version of "Reservations" than the band's biggest hit. It was good anyway. Also good? Pretty much the whole show, but "I Summon You" was the standout. Had to be one of Britt's best vocal performances ever, earnest but vague emotion laid bare over that melancholy strum and bass drum thump.

The new material fared well, with Spoon joined by their version of the Horns of Plenty. "You Got Yr Cherry Bomb" was triumphant, more so than "The Underdog", which, to my ears, actually sounds better on radio (in a good way). They came back and did a couple encores, including a welcome and spirited version of "Japanese Cigarette Case", one of my favorites off the latest. They did "I Turn My Camera On" -- the first step backwards in what had been a linear progression of the band's career in the setlist -- to much applause, and finally the obligatory "My Mathematical Mind". It seems to have become their go-to closer, and for good reason. It covers the taut construction, jagged guitar "solos", and vague but ominous lyrics ("Gonna see the stakes! Gonna ride the brakes!") that's become the band's trademark.

Unfortunately, there was no "Sister Jack", which I alternately describe as the greatest power pop song of the past decade (GL doesn't seem to think it's power pop, which is complete nonsense) and as the chord progression chemically/physically proven to induce the greatest endorphin release/involuntary air guitar down-strumming. But they didn't play it. Just a side note there.

SETLIST: If You Say So / Utilitarian / Minor Tough / Fitted Shirt / Anything You Want / Me and the Bean / Small Stakes / The Way We Get By / Stay Don't Go / Jonathan Fisk / Back to the Life / The Beast and Dragon, Adored / The Delicate Place / I Summon You / Don't Make Me a Target / The Ghost of You Lingers / You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb / The Underdog / Black Like Me // Japanese Cigarette Case / Peace Like a River (Paul Simon) / I Turn My Camera On / Don't You Evah // Rhythm and Soul / My Mathematical Mind


Pave the Whales said...


Spoon was excellent at ACL this year, and I had hoped to see them at the 9:30 but...well, things happen. And me not getting tickets was one of those things.

G. L. Naut said...

ok, it's quite powerful and certainly poppy, but i'm just not sure it classifies as power pop. maybe it has something to do with his voice? who knows, just one man's opinion...

Rob said...

my vote: power pop