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Spoon At Amoeba, Wednesday August 6th 2014, Review

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Once again, Amoeba was hosting the show of the night on Wednesday, with Spoon visiting the popular store for an in-store and signing, the same day the Austin band was releasing their 8th album ‘They Want My Soul’ on Loma Vista…. Needless to say a long long line of people had formed in the street… and once again I was thinking  ‘What? Spoon has become that big?

The Austin band took the stage after a long light-and-sound check, I had actually never seen a band doing stage lightning effects at Amoeba, and it seems that Spoon wanted it to be as close as possible to a real club show despite the brevity of the set… it was cool but just more difficult to take some good pictures with all these flashing lights. They didn’t waste any time, they minimized the talking and played a 8-song set, five from the new records, and 3 oldies but goodies, which were warmly acclaimed by the crowd, such as the funky dance-floor earworm ‘I Turn my Camera on’ (off ‘Gimme Fiction’) which always sounds like another Beck’s copycat of Prince to me. Then there was ‘Small Stakes’ (off their 2002 album ‘Kill the Moonlight’) with its playful anxious pulses, and the Jon Brion-esque ‘Don’t Make me a Target’… well I just say this because of the melancholic-upbeat fast tempo of the song, why am I not listening to Spoon more often? this last one was awesome.

But first there were the new ones? They played the first five songs of  ‘They Want My Soul’ and, at the first listening, they truly resonated like Spoon songs to me, with singer Britt Daniel’s recognizable vocals, layered guitars, fast foot-tapping tempos, mad keyboards and distortions mixed with harmonies. In particular ‘Do You’ had this Spoon’s playfulness… As someone asked me before the show what kind of music Spoon was, I realized I was a bit clueless…. Err, well pop-rock may be? Indie? Is that even a genre? In the reviews, I have read names of big rock bands and famous indie bands, from John Lennon to Elvis Costello to Neil Finn, from The Cure to the Pixies to Can… and I am not sure where to go with this. Spoon’s new songs seemed to be meticulously built with a real complexity and super catchy rhythms, exhaling a real coolness, breathing by themselves and dominated by Daniel’s confident vocals… plus they could also become quite thunderous, making a noise of squeaking guitars, sounding like a derailing train during ‘Knock Knock Knock’… some weird pedals were obviously involved.

‘They Want my Soul’ is Spoon’s first album in four years (their longest break so far), it is co-produced by Dave Fridmann (Flaming Lips and MGMT) and Britt Daniel had a very simple sentence about it in an interview: ‘I want this one to be blasting in your car’…. For now it was blasting inside Amoeba, and I was thinking: I actually don’t know what genre Spoon belongs to, but they have energy to sell on stage, a true rock energy with crisp guitars, pop hooks and a big stage game… I didn’t hear any earworm among the new ones but it was my first listening… and even though there would be no big hit – Spoon never really got one anyway – they have already sold out the Hollywood Forever Cemetery on August 8th and have filled up the large Amoeba store on Wednesday night like true rock stars.

Rent I Pay
Inside out
Rainy Taxi
Do You
Knock Knock Knock
I Turn my Camera on
Small Stakes
Don’t Make me a Target

More pictures of the show here.

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