Spoon July 13th The Sylvee Madison, WI - photo by Dave Robbins
For a band promoting a new album and the fifteen anniversary of another, Austin’s Spoon seemed equally psyched to dip into their deep catalog and play fan favorites. While, “Lucifer on the Sofa,” and, “Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga,”, had prominent roles on their July 13th setlist, tracks from “Gimme Fiction,” and, “They Want My Soul,” came up frequently, highlighting their ten album career with cuts from, “Girls Can Tell,” and, “Kill The Moonlight.” Meanwhile, the band’s influences made an appearance in their five-song encore, covering John Lennon’s heart-wrenching, “Isolation,” and, joined by opener Bodega, to crank out Wire’s ecstatic, “Mannequin,” for a show packed with frenzied chemistry.
The band threw themselves, sometimes literally, into the twenty-one song, hour and a half performance, a burlesque of ballistic blues, roadhouse honky-tonk and Memphis soul tuned to tasty Texas rock. There was little chit chat from frontman Britt Daniel beyond a passing remark about Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga’s anniversary and The Sylvee being a new space for them. The band has split its tours between Madison and Milwaukee for nearly two decades and seemed intent on filling the new, bigger venue with to the rafter passion. Based on the after-show conversations, they succeeded admirably.
“Lucifer,” saw a rejuvenated Spoon in the studio with a loose, goosed immediacy to the recording. The studio strategy enhanced the band’s stage show as they had a grand time hammering it out in real time at Madison’s The Sylvee, excelling with energetic renditions of, “The Devil & Mister Jones,” and,” The Hardest Cut,” cushioned in weathered authenticity and vibrant wildness. From the opener, “Held,” a Smog cover that also opens up, “Lucifer,” to the closing, “Rent I Pay,” Spoon took no prisoners, simultaneously surrendering to the night. Guitarist, keyboardist Alex Fischel particularly ripped, with just this side of chaos accentuating the already urgent songs of rock and roll espionage. Also working overtime, original member Jim Eno beautifully caged the beast with his Bo Diddley beats and rock-steady rhythm.
Bodega, the night’s opener, started early and held the audience hostage with a collective energy powered by punkish thunder riding a tide of socio-economic taunts that was hard to resist. The Brooklyn five-piece holds a mirror to capitalist avarice, deconstructing post-millennial gremlins with muscular art-rock exorcisms. Bodega swings back around next month playing Milwaukee’s Cactus Club August 19th.