@ZackTeibloom. We don’t do after shows. I know that sounds lame and about the least hardcore thing you could say, but it’s just a necessity with the way we festival. We get to the fest for the first band around noon, go until the headliner’s encore around 10 and then have hours of writing (and eating) to do. It’s usually a logistical nightmare to get to them, and after-shows are generally populated by people who have either been drinking all day and don’t have anything to rush home to or by the kinds of people who show up to the fest at 4, never get against the guardrail for a show and are just there to have a good time. No judgment, that’s just never been me or Andy or Caitlin. We’re blistered, sun-burned messes at the end of a festival day done right.
As much as me and Caitlin were drooling over the prospect of a Spoon after-show, we talked ourselves out of it the night before. We’d have to miss Public Enemy (and maybe more) to get to the ND in time for the doors at 9, and had no idea what the line situation would be for free Spoon at an intimate venue that only holds about 350. After getting our fill of “Yeah, boiii’s!” and “Fight the Power” with our fists held high at Public Enemy, we headed for the shuttle. We got on just as they were about to leave and they took us directly to our parking spot, at the ND. Since the show happened to be at the exact spot they dropped us off at, a block from our car, we thought we’d at least get close enough to see if we could hear a song as we walked by. We were shocked by what we saw.
We get to the entrance and it felt like it could have been a weekday Soapbox Spellbinders show at Red Eyed Fly. Just a few people waiting to get in, absentmindedly holding their IDs. Wait, what? We peek inside around the two guys checking ID’s and not checking a list and see Rob and The Other Caitlin excited (drunk) to see us with their arms raised up. The bouncer asks if we’re on the list. We actually had RSVP’d as soon as it was announced, but surely there were thousands more who tried this before us, right? It’s a long, uninteresting story, but basically they screwed up the list, turned people away and then decided to just let people in. We happened to come at an incredibly lucky time. As much as we were looking forward to getting food and relaxing, there was no way to turn this show down. We caught the last several songs by a band named Boy* who was pretty solid guitar rock, but we were ready for Spoon.
Stage hands set up light bulbs around the mic stands that let Spoon be in the dark much of the night with a gorgeous effect. The band came down the ND steps a little after 11 to a nearly packed (but not at all uncomfortably crowded) room to warm applause. It’s always good to have the hometown boys make good back in town. We were able to comfortably stand 5 rows back, dead center and come and go as we please (Rob making numerous beer runs.) They started the night with “Take a Walk” off of 2001’s Girls Can Tell and as Eric was tweeting the night before, early Spoon is perfection. I got my 4s out to record all five minutes of 2010’s “Written in Reverse,” which received yelps from the crowd.
The crowd seemed more into newer Spoon than old stuff, but we got a nice mix, so everyone seemed happy.** The first five songs were all off of different albums, with no singles being played until “I Turn My Camera On” seven songs in. I bet Caitlin that the over/under on when Britt would pull out his trademark “I’m using my guitar as a machine gun” move and decided on 2.5 songs in. He didn’t really do it until they were walking off stage. In a lot of ways, this was a more mature Britt Daniel on stage. I’d written a whole article saying how I felt like I knew all his moves and how they were starting to feel repetitive. Daniels said that this was their first show in a while, so maybe he was out of the rhythm of touring and had put away his usual schtick (like using the echo pedal heavily) and just got down to playing his incredible catalog of songs. It was refreshing. I won’t make a bad pun about it, but I recorded “I Turn My Camera On.”
Next up on the setlist was “SM ST/Finer,” which of course meant “Small Stakes” off of Kill the Moonlight into “Finer Things” on Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga. It took me a minute to remember that “EHAO” on the set-list meant “Everything Hits at Once,” another gorgeous track from Girls Can Tell. I wouldn’t have minded a 10-year anniversary performance of that whole album. It was stunning. They dug back to their breakout single “Way We Get By,” which they don’t play live as often as one would think and the crowd ate it up. The drunk guy was still yelling for “Jonathan Fisk,” though.
They closed the set down with four absolute favorites. “You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb” and “The Underdog,” got it going before that dude finally got his “Jonathan Fisk” and Caitlin’s favorite “Black Like Me” wrapped it up. She sang along especially loud to her favorite line, “All the weird kids up front, tell me what you know you want.” I got a taste of that. At this point, I slid by two rows of people to grab a set-list and three kids tore it out of my hand and said “This is ours!” OK, OK weird kids up front. I went back to my spot and settled in for four more.
The encore was when I remembered why I don’t usually have energy for after shows. I was running on fumes, but Britt’s incredible solo’s (like this show closer on “My Mathematical Mind”) and Rob drunkenly leaning on stage amps and turning around to sing the lyrics at me and Caitlin kept me going with a smile on my face. It was the kind of show that makes you fall in love with a band all over again, after letting them slip into the “I’ve seen them enough, I don’t need to go out of my way to see them category.” They still belong in the top flight of touring bands. I feel lucky to have caught this one. And that I get to see them again tonight. 9.5/10
*Caitlin pointed out how terrible this band name is. The argument comes down to this: Good luck finding them online. Hint: searching “Boy band” won’t help.
**Especially the kid who yelled for Jonathan Fisk after every single song until they played it as their 17th song. After the 10th time he yelled it, like a “Free Bird” dick head, I turned to him and said “They have a set list, you know.” “Is it on it?!” Sigh.
Setlist From Spoon FFF Nites at the ND 11/04/11: