This past Thursday I had the pleasure of seeing Spoon play the Newport Music Hall in Columbus, Ohio. I’ve always been a casual Spoon fan, enjoying their singles on the radio and appreciating how consistent their sound has been since the first song I remember hearing from them (“I Turn My Camera On”). But this show definitely impressed me, even though I generally prefer something more upbeat and experimental than Spoon’s laid-back, smoothly produced style of indie rock.
First off, the stage presence of Britt Daniel was lovely. He was engaged from the start with the crowd, serenading people close to the stage and even pointing to fans in the balcony and singing to them. He paid homage to the Newport as the US’s longest-running rock club during the show, chatted about certain songs, and somehow looked like a total “dad” while also looking impeccably cool and relaxed.
Above: The band keeps perfect rhythm with each other, communicating both through count-ins and nods.
The band was also perfectly together; each riff tight, each beat on the mark and each synth lead perfectly placed. Even without the crystal-clear studio production, the bass still provided an excellent backbone to every song without being obnoxious (something I absolutely love about Spoon’s music). Daniel introduced and praised each member of his band while they were soloing, and every member exchanged nods, smiles and glances with each other during the song to make sure they were still on the same page. The precision was impressive, which I suppose is what makes Spoon such a lasting act over the past 20 years.
Above: Daniel in profile.
Even the light show was great. Not too showy or flashy, but adding the perfect amount of ambiance to the more ominous and atmospheric feel that Spoon’s new “Hot Thoughts” album plays with. Daniel was framed perfectly by the light, and the packed house loved it.
The band played a solid mix of both older and newer songs, sticking mostly with their best known tracks from each album. I was probably one of the youngest people in the audience, but everyone around me was singing along to every word and greeted the start of each song with a new round of cheering. I left the show feeling like this dedicated fanbase was greatly deserved.
Spoon’s opener, Tennis, was also quality. The sounds of the two bands meshed perfectly, and as I’ve mentioned before, I love seeing women in indie. Despite some unfortunate sound system malfunctions, frontwoman Alaina Moore played it off delightfully with some jokes about her homeschooled, Christian upbringing (“My dad was a pastor and we always said in church that when the devil was cast out, it went into the nearest soundsystem” and “I was homeschooled, so that explains why I can’t dance”).
I love seeing shows at the Newport because it’s smaller, older, standing room only and historic. The stage isn’t too high off the ground and you’re right up there with the act you’re seeing. Despite being one of the more notable indie acts of the last two decades, Spoon managed to stay as down-to-earth and levelheaded as their music during the show and seemed truly gracious and humbled by the turnout of the crowd and the ability to perform in such a spot. I look forward to seeing them again in August at Lollapalooza and highly recommend their latest album.
Thanks for reading, and God bless.