My Musical Adventures

Spoon @ The Fillmore, 9/24/08

It’s the last night of Spoon’s 3 day Fillmore residency. Spoon immediately evokes memories of Austin for me, and I feel I should be entering the Fillmore with a tummy full of barbecue rather than sushi. But this’ll do.

I’m wondering why I can get so close to the stage at a sold out show that I’m late for. Then I realize that there is no barrier. I love it! And seriously, there is no need for a barrier at a Spoon show. There is no need for a barrier at a lot of shows I go to, but they are there. It leaves me wondering if this is a new Filmore thing, a band request, or something else…

photo via hippiesaredead

The band takes the stage at 9ish, immediately jumping into one of their best songs, ‘My Mathematical Mind’. A few songs into it, Britt Daniel, the lead singer/guitarist/incredibly tall and boyishly skinny leader of the pack informs us that tonight’s setlist has been designed by one of their biggest fans, pointing to a smiling guy standing front and center. He goes on to say that some of the songs he chose hadn’t been played in a while, and they had to go back and relearn them.

Now that is cool. What an opportunity for a fan, and what a nice thing for us, as a fan designed setlist can almost guarantee you’ll hear the hits you want and some nice obscure, seldomly played bonuses.

Spoon has surprisingly been around since the mid nineties, and thus can be labeled one of the original indie rock bands. While they accomplish that clean rock sound better than most self proclaimed indie rockers, it is precisely why I have never become a huge Spoon fan. But, they put on a show that is worth appreciating.

I find the band dynamic to be interesting. Daniel and the drummer are the two original members, with the bassist and keyboardist being newer additions. However, Spoon is essentially a Britt Daniel show. Having vocal and guitar duties, plus being so damn tall, makes it almost impossible to focus on anyone else, and the song structures don’t support this either. Interestingly, I prefer Daniel when he is either singing or playing the guitar, but not so much when he does both. The live brass section was nice, and I found it very humorous that when they left the stage carrying their music, the pages were contained in magazines like Maxim.

The stage setup was very minimalist. There was a white screen behind them, and the lighting changed color from time to time, from one solid color to another. The effect of lighting like that is really underestimated- they are called warm tones and cool tones for a reason.

Highlights of the evening were ‘My Mathematical Mind’, ‘Don’t You Evah’, ‘I Turn My Camera On’ (the ultimate strutting down the street song), and ‘The Underdog’. Rogue Wave’s Gram LeBron came out during ‘Sister Jack’, and John Vanderslice, another indie rock icon, joined them on stage’Cherry Bomb’. Daniel played with a broken string during one song, and dropped his pick halfway through another.

There were 2 encores. The set was long- so I would have been fine with a break, but 2 encores felt extravagant to me. I know it was a residency and all, but it was still a turn off. This was probably accentuated by the fact that I thought that, aside from the new song they played, the other songs started to sound a little messy.

The crowd was quietly passionate about the performance, mouthing the words and moving around a little in place. With the exception of a drunk girl in front of me, and a fight that strangely broke out in the middle of the set, things were pretty mellow.

On top of the free Fillmore poster, there was a series of posters for sale, one for each night of the show that showed the progression of a guy and a tree. The last one that we bought was the best- the guy had hung himself. That’s pretty metal for an indie rock band.

My Mathematical Mind
Don’t You Evah
Rhythm + Soul
Stay Don’t Go
Anything You Want
Sister Jack
The Ghost of You Lingers
The Two Sides of M. Valentine
I Turn My Camera On
Who Backs Your Money?
Small Stakes
I Summon You
Don’t Make Me a Target
Eddie’s Ragga
You Got Yr Cherry Bomb
The Underdog
Black Like Me

Jackie Wilson Said (Van Morrison Cover)
My Japanese Cigarette Case
The Way We Get By

*New Song*?
Car Radio
Rocks Off

Spoon performance: 8.5/10
venue (The Fillmore): 8.5/10
crowd/scene: 8/10
value ($25/ticket): 7.5/10
memorable: 7.5/10


    Jamie: Thanks for taking the time to write about the show. I was @ Tue. Night’s and it was a taut set of tunes and I have been piecing together what others have been saying about the nights I missed. It seems each night had a different edge to it, which fulfills a 3-night indoor run of shows; a long overdue obligation to their fans. I really liked Brit’s ability to pull off the reverb/echoey vocal and his guitar playing is quite tasty. What’s comin’ up that you reco?

    Hi Brad- You can see my show reco’s each week under the category Rock Out SF. Thanks for reading!

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