An evening with Spoon

Say what you will about Twitter. It does have its uses.

Yesterday, Brooklyn Vegan re-tweeted Spoon’s message about a ‘secret’ show at the Mercury Lounge. Now I already knew that Spoon was slated to play at Radio City Music Hall, max. capacity – approximately 6,000.  But having already seen them in a venue that was much too large, I decided to skip it, and well… let’s just say it worked out. According to the plaque on the wall at the Mercury Lounge, the max. capacity for the joint is a mere 197 people. A-Mazing.

Though I can’t say I’ve listened to more than a few songs from their newest album, Transference, I jumped at the opportunity to see them on such a small stage, and I admit I got kind of a rush knowing it was a ‘secret’ show. (1)

As I power walked down Broadway from work, I thought I wouldn’t stand a chance in getting in tonight, but somehow, the line was still quite short when I got there at 5:15. (Maybe the whole world isn’t on Twitter after all.) Waiting in line outside in the cold sucks pretty hard core, but there’s something to be said about doing it with strangers who are also invested in music. One girl gave me half of her everything bagel.

I was a bit miffed to find out that there was an opening band – Mahogany. I’m still not sure who they know or who they’re blackmailing to have gotten that spot.  The six members of Mahogany varied in enthusiasm, with the main singer being the apex of excitement. Any time he was not busy singing, his face immediately twisted into an unshakable, goofy grin. Save a couple of songs, there music was mediocre and very repetitive.

As Spoon took the stage later, I couldn’t help but think Man. They are the quintessential indie-rock band. There’s no special made-up tag like shoegaze or twee to tack on to describe them. They’re straight up indie-rock. They’re a four-piece clad mostly in black (Britt Daniel wore a leather jacket), and they have slightly stylized haircuts. The vocals are neither grating nor strictly ‘normal.’ The beat is a little off, but the music is far from being discordant. These guys are pros. They’ve been around for an astonishing 16 years, and they’re still signed to a smaller (but reputable) label: Merge Records. They aren’t a fad band. These guys are in it for life. Their music may be getting less experimental and quirky with time, but it still hasn’t really crossed over into mainstream consciousness. Even band-a-minute hipsters still seem to remember them fondly.

So maybe the show was a bit bland at some points (it didn’t help that I wasn’t very familiar with Transference), but it was definitely worth the frozen feet and nearly empty stomach. The people in the audience around me were absolutely enthralled. They danced, sang along, mingled, requested songs, and grinned sheepishly at Britt. The feeling was contagious. This is why I go to shows.

Set list:

Black Like Me
Is Love Forever?
I Saw the Light
Stay Don’t Go
Don’t You Evah
The Ghost of You Lingers
Who Makes Your Money
Nobody Gets Me But You
Don’t Make Me a Target
Mystery Zone
You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb
Written In Reverse
Someone Something
They Never Got You
I Summon You
The Beast and Dragon, Adored
Got Nuffin

Chicago at Night
Rhthm and Soul
Fitted Shirt

For some great pics from the show, hit up Brooklyn Vegan.

(1) Wasn’t this the plot of that painful teen flick Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist with Michael Cera? hmmm…


2 Responses to “An evening with Spoon”

  1. 1 Tara January 22, 2010 at 10:40 am


    Amazing show. Totally worth the 3 hour wait in the freezing cold and impending frostbite. I don’t think I stopped smiling the entire time.

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"He considered music a liberating force: it liberated him from loneliness, introversion, the dust of the library; it opened the door of his body and allowed his soul to step out into the world to make friends."

- Milan Kundera's The Unbearable Lightness of Being


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