It was with little warning that Spoon announced their first show in four years. They pulled this secret show out of their hats at the intimate Hotel Vegas, who’s limited capacity ushered in the lucky and the few that night.

The band has played a few undisclosed shows a few times now since 2005’s Gimme Fiction. That album launched them from a well-known local indie group to a world-renowned musical act that landed them two top ten albums on the Billboard charts.

Despite the announcement via Twitter only a few hours in advance, an incredibly long line began to grow like a tentacle far outside the club’s front doors. In a certain light, it was a nostalgic return to their roots since 1993, when the band called Austin home. Back then, they tended to play at their best to smaller, more intimate crowds at venues like The Parish and Emo’s, a departure from the music festivals and vast crowds they usually perform for now.

The two constants since the group’s inception are Britt Daniel and Jim Eno. Daniel is the main songwriter and covers vocal duties, Eno is the steady, confident beat on drums. Joined by Eric Harvey on keyboard and guitar in 2004, Rob Pope on base in 2007, and new addition Alex Fischel on guitar and keyboards, the band’s minimalist sound has thickened out and gelled in live performances thanks to the harmonious fusion of this five-man mix.

 

The set list began with the slightly funky “Don’t You Evah” from 2005’s Gimme Fiction before launching into 2002’s Kill The Moonlight album opener, “Small Stakes.” As Daniel ripped into the hook, ‘small stakes ensure you the minimum blues/But you don’t feel taken and you don’t feel abused,’ the laid-back vibe of Austin culture was invoked with the force of a much larger line up.

Notably absent were any songs from the album they broke into the indie scene with.  ‘Girls can Tell,’ as well as songs from the forthcoming LP, They Want My Soul. A Series of Sneaks’ “Utilitarian” showcases this bands’ formidable ability to bring on the heaviness, despite them being known for their lighter fare.  Their versatile ability was unquestionable as they flexed their punk rock muscle with a punchy attack as Daniel screams, ‘I got meat in my arms/I got steel in my teeth/So come on!’

Overall, this is where Spoon is meant to play. Having personally seen shows since 2001 at the Mercury (now The Parish), this was by far one of the best Spoon performances I’ve seen.  Spoon might be a band that is a festival crowd pleaser, but they are at their best when giving an up-close and personal heavy attack. It felt like the excitement Austin bands used to bring. Secret shows, excited crowds, and bands known worldwide but letting loose in the charged air of a small, local stage. We look forward to the next one.

 

Setlist:

“Don’t You Evah”
“Small Stakes”
“Who Makes You Money?”
“Rhythm & Soul”
“The Way We Get By”
“Ghost”
“The Beast And Dragon Adored”
“Utilitarian”
“My Mathematical Mind”
“I Turn My Camera On”
“Trouble Comes Running”
“I Summon You”
“Don’t Make Me a Target”
“You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb”
“Jonathan Fisk”
“Black Like Me”

Jeff Tom

Jeff Tom

Owner and Editor-in-Chief at The Austin Current I'm a native Austinite. In 1998 I founded one of the first successful blogs on the Internet, and have been writing daily since. I'm a singer-songwriter with my own band, have started multiple successful businesses as an entrepreneur, and have been an avid participant of the music, comedy, technology, and film scene of Austin for over a dozen years.