Spoon makes Twin Cities go "Ga Ga" on two-night stand at First Avenue

Categories: Concert Review
Photos by Tony Nelson
You know, that band Spoon, they have a pretty good gig going. They just put out their seventh album the other month, Transference. It got alright reviews, plus the public seems to like it well enough. In fact, the band have what would appear to be a fairly decent following, good enough that they came into Minneapolis and sold out consecutive nights at First Ave.  And when they played there Friday, the first of those two nights, they pretty well went on like they owned the place.

"This is a pretty nice little venue, don't you think?" Britt Daniel quipped toward the end of the show. "It sounds good from up here, anyway."

Looking around the packed house, it was safe to say that everyone was of a like-minded opinion.

In all seriousness, though, the Austin quartet put on a damn fine show Friday, playing a authoritative set of rock 'n' roll songs with two encores. There's no doubting Spoon are good at making records, but their immaculate chops and tight pocket mean they're just as effective live -- and while the arrangements don't alter all that much from the albums, it doesn't detract from the performance.

Photos by Tony Nelson
It helps that Daniel writes such catchy songs, plenty of which were brought out at the Mainroom. There were a pair of songs early in the set from Kill the Moonlight, "That's the Way We Get By" with a glorious transition into "Small Stakes;" there were at least a half-dozen songs from Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, including "You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb" and, during the second encore, "Don't You Evah;" and there was their most recent hit, "Written in Reverse," which was one of the highlights of the show.

The audience knew most the words to each, singing along frequently, and danced often to the big, r&b-infused hooks.  The band played a couple covers, as well, "Love Song" by the Damned and "Modern World" by Wolf Parade, the second of which was particularly convincing.  About the only song that didn't come off as well as it could have was "The Underdog," which wasn't really the same without horns in it, but that fact hardly slowed the momentum of a show that otherwise delivered on all fronts.

Photo by Tony Nelson
Openers Deerhunter (actually, they were the second openers; Micachu and the Shapes were the first) also put on a good show, although the audience wasn't as into it, largely because they didn't seem to be as familiar with the Atlantans' music.  This seems a bit surprising considering the attention these guys get in the (admittedly insular) indie world, but it also speaks to how devoted Spoon's following is.

Bradford Cox was in a plenty saucy mood, going on about his "feminine hips" and cracking Lynyrd Skynyrd jokes only a Southerner could get away with.  Deerhunter's set was sloppier than the headliners', but they definitely got the crowd worked up when they jammed out on "Nothing Ever Happened."

No one will complain if either band decides to come back any time soon. Presumably, they'll be welcome to stay as long as they like.

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