Spoon is one of these strange bands that appear online to be much bigger in the United States, touring a European campaign every second or third album.
So catching them in a venue like The Art School should prove interesting to see how the band portray themselves on a small stage.
It is funny from the start as six road crew check a range of equipment on stage, tripping over each other in the process.
Spoon going on their 20th year as a band are touring off the back of their ninth record, Hot Thoughts.
The setlist is well rounded with their most recent offerings, They Want My Soul (2014), Gimme Fiction (2005) and Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga (2007) making up the four corner stones of the set.
Lead by singer/guitarist Britt Daniel the band make their way through a setlist that lasts over 90 minutes.
He really is the focus of the show, talking to bandmates during songs directing the smooth transitions between numbers.
The absence of gaps between tracks clearly required to enable the band to get through the setlist.
The only change that occurs throughout is Daniel’s dropping or picking up the guitar.
The five-piece setup allows the freedom for the group to experiment with the format of Daniel’s focusing purely on singing and being a frontman; which again makes them seem too big for the stage.
Spoon are a slick outfit (bar the one misstep in a count in that is met with a sly smile from the corner of Daniel’s mouth), production and flow of the show is clearly meant for a bigger stage, however this makes it all the more impressive when the dynamics of the band are matched with studio level of mixing; around the third track, I turn my camera on, this become apparent.
The encore begins with a solo rendition of ‘I Summon You’ and then a four song run from the two most recent albums.
The set does show how Spoon has produced their most solid enjoyable material to date with They Want My Soul and Hot Thoughts.
The basic rhythmical elements of their very 00s indie guitar sound are still present, however the density added my mellontron, samples (loops of Daniel’s vocals in particular adds a lot) and controlled noise lift the movements and flow of the arrangements beyond what the band has previously done.
Having this section of the set at the end is clearly what Spoon want the audience to go away with and where the band seem to be hinting they still have further explorations to do with these tonal palettes.
Words: Paul Choi
Photos: Stewart Fullerton