March 25, 2010

Do Make Them a Target (just not at 930)

Spoon Review - 930 Club - March 23rd, 2010

Let me preface this review by stating that I saw Spoon live on the Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga tour. At Jazzfest. At dusk. With the Dirty Dozen's Brass Band in support. Drunk. THAT was an incredible experience. That was an experience that made me tell anyone who would or would not listen about how great Spoon was, and that their live show had gotten a bad rap. I wept tears of joy when I found out they were playing DC, not in some mid-sized, sterile theater (i.e., DAR Con Hall) but in my backyard at the 930 club. My away message that day read, "Buy tickets here (link); don't ask questions." I was prepared to be blown away.

And frankly, Tueday night I was and I wasn't. To clarify, I was blown away at the number of people in the club, packed onto the floor like a box of Crayolas. I was blown away by mob scene out front - apparently Spoon fans don't understand a line. I was blown away by how respectful people were of opener Deerhunter - regretfully I missed opener Strange Boys, who has garnered a lot of talk lately. I was blown away at how well the Spoon sound translated to the club. I was blown away by the breadth and diversity of the setlist. I was NOT blown away by the stage presence of Britt and company. I was NOT blown away with the energy of the crowd. I was NOT blown away with the arrangements of some of the songs.

The Good: Wow, Spoon has a metric tonne of awesome songs. The fact that an indie act can play two nights in the same space with very different 23/24 song setlists is beyond impressive. That's how long the band has been at this. The mixing was good - a little loud for my tastes, but the live sound matched the blends achieved on the records with a little extra kick on the purposefully messy, distorted guitar solo sections. The stage lighting was very cool; designed for and worthy of a much larger stage. Highlights from the setlist: Everything Hits at Once, Don't You Evah, Stay Don't Go (wow, this song is badass), Trouble Comes Running, and the entire encore.

The Bad: "What do you want to hear?" questioned Britt after walking on stage to howls and cheers. Silence. More silence. Rock song. That's about the only interaction the band had with the crowd. I can't blame him - the crowd was filled with dead fish. I saw three people in the pit bobbing their heads. Three. Ten people were dancing in the entire club (myself and copilot two of them.) The energy of the music was there, but it was not reciprocated by the audience, and when energy just kind of dies, well, it's not much fun to watch. I'll give the audience a bit of break in that it was as crowded a show as I've ever seen at 930. How can you dance when you're arms and legs are locked in place? So I will blame 930 club for overselling the show. Please, please, please 930 club, stop overselling your shows. Charge $3 more and sell 100 less tickets. Finally, I was terribly disappointed in the arrangement of Underdog and YGYCB. If you don't have horns, don't play these songs. Its as simple as that.

In conclusion, my expectations were not met, but I still enjoyed myself at the show. While I don't think they are the best live band in america (really DCist, Express?), I fully plan to see Spoon again in future concert exploits. One caveat: if they come back to the 930 club I may just catch it on NPR. Check out the scorecard below for a bit more on each dynamic of the concert. And if you agree/disagree with my take, please, I welcome and will respond to any and all comments.


Everything Hits at Once
I Saw the Light
Don't You Evah
Metal School
The Ghost of You Lingers
Before Destruction
Is Love Forever?
Stay Don't Go
Written in Reverse
Love Song (The Damned)
The Underdog
They Never Got You
I Summon You
Don't Make Me a Target
The Two Sides of Monsieur Valentine
Got Nuffin
Someone Something
Trouble Comes Running
The Beast and Dragon Adored
That's The Way We Get By
You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb
I Could See the Dude
I Turn My Camera On
Small Stakes
(Thanks to ClickTrack for publishing the setlist)


  1. Good review, Soundproof - you are the concert connoisseur and you have more to compare this show to than I.
    As a Spoon concert virgin and a Louisvillian who has long thought MMJ is the standard for contemporary live shows to be held, I was impressed with Spoon's live presence and they are now on my list of great live bands.
    They did not disappoint: they sounded great, they rocked and they made me wish I had wiggle room to boogie. I think given the circumstances you observed, they didn't use it as a pass to give a flat show. Britt exceeded my (admittedly lower)expectations as a musician and they gave me what I came for: poppy-toe-tapping rock'n'roll.
    I gave it 5 out of 4 sporks!

  2. Thanks for your perspective. You make a valid point that Spoon gave more than they received, which shouldn't go unnoticed.

    Did you go to the Monday or Tuesday show? Also, what's the spork to star and/or thumbs-up exchange ratio? I imagine its pretty high.

    And I'm no connoisseur - just a faithful critic.