Artists: Spoon, Geese
Venue: Hollywood Palladium
Date: June 2, 2022
Spoon are one of those bands that no one ever has a bad thing to say about. They’ve remained beloved by critics throughout their career, and have maintained a steady, gradually growing fan base that has stuck with them. It was clear from the make-up of the audience at the Palladium last Thursday, with age ranges being from people in their late 60’s to young kids being brought by their fan parents. And after finally seeing the band perform live for the first time, they clearly proved why they have endured.
Opening the show was New York indie rockers Geese. This ragtag band have gained a fervent buzz in the blogosphere, and it was easy to tell why. The group had a palpable rock n’ roll intensity to their performance that has led other groups like Turnstiles to blow up. Musically, the group’s songs draw elements from a smorgasbord of groups; Interpol, Franz Ferdinand, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs…I could go on. There were post-punk influences in their guitar playing, and their frontman went between grungy yelps to and Iggy-like baritone. And the drummer was definitely from the Dave Grohl school of hitting the drums with as much strength and fury as possible. While the group’s songwriting isn’t at the level yet to help them crossover to more mainstream listeners (there was nary a real hook or pop chorus to be found), they are building off a strong foundation and have plenty of space to grow.
I listened a few times to Spoon‘s most recent album Lucifer on the Sofa, and while I liked it, the songs from it didn’t really come to life until hearing Spoon perform them live. Following a cover of Smog‘s “Held”, the band played album track “The Devil and Mr. Jones”, who’s funky, bluesy stomp elicited hoots and hollers from the excited audience. And “Wild” was already a crowd favorite, getting hands in the air and the crowd singing along. That track is destined to be on road trip and hiking playlists for years to come. And while most people wouldn’t necessarily consider Spoon a hard rock band, the riff of “The Fitted Shirt” is heavy enough to get Metallica fans banging their heads.
The evening highlight for me was the next one-two punch of “Got Nuffin'” and “The Underdog”, two of the band’s best pop-leaning numbers. The former is my favorite song of the band’s, with its dark, melodic tones and lyrical hook (“I got nothing to lose but darkness and shadows”). The mariachi-leaning latter song is one of Spoon’s most bouncy, with the acoustic riff and (on record) mariachi horns. It got the crowd happily clapping along, and one very-excited fan in front of me dancing around. The band dedicated another new one, “My Babe”, to a fan at their first concert that night. The song’s bright pop hook shined in the live setting. Sounding even better than on the record was their latest album’s title track, which found new energy in its live harmonies and the attitude delivered by frontman Britt Daniels.
“Inside Out” (the band’s most streamed song) got audience members dancing to its dreamy melody, while the funky “I Turn My Camera On” was certainly made for hip-shaking. The band then drew out “The Mystery Zone”, which they have not included in a set list for many years. They then left the stage for a short break, before returning for a triumphant five-song encore, starting with a cover of John Lennon‘s “Isolation”.
“The Hardest Cut” is Spoon firmly in the rock n’ roll realm, with an electric blues riff that should have gotten the track on active rock stations. We were then treated to “The Way We Get By”, the first Spoon song I ever heard, and a great singalong still. “Do You” and a peppy “Rent I Pay” closed out the show, much to the audience’s delight. It was a show that can simply be described as “solid” throughout. The band played all the songs I wanted to hear, and gave other ones new life. If you’re one of the few people out there not familiar with Spoon, get listening to them! And see videos from the show on our socials @TheIndyReview!