Madison Theater was filled with an eclectic crowd Saturday night, showing a variety of ages and interest. Following the show, it only seemed appropriate for reflecting Spoon as a band.
The Austin band showed a real knack for visually stimulating the crowd. Three large, white rectangles set up behind the band symmetrically as a play on colors and shadows throughout the night. This was only one of several aesthetic choices made by the band that improved the show. Between the flashing colors, smoke machines and strobe lights, Spoon’s music slowly shifted from being a performance to an experience.
It was all so visually stimulating that it added another element to the actual music. The colors would shift suddenly on queue with chord changes, solo beginnings. I’ve heard before that the lights person for Phish is thought of so highly that people argue he should be considered an additional member of the band. I don’t know who works the lights for Spoon, but I’d say he is in that elite class.
Even without the extra incentives to enjoy their show, Spoon dominated with the necessities. They breezed through hits from all around their discography. It was crowd pleasing that actually worked – it never seemed like the audience was disconnected by the set list. People rocked from one side to another back and forth all night long with the Austin band, and they clearly fed off the energy.
Each person played their part to a tee and never outdid the rest. Spoon’s lead singer used his charisma to represent the band as a whole, letting real personality shine through. The drummer consistently brought the right backbone to Spoon’s monstrous songs, whether it be slapping neo-funk or rumbling hard rock. The bassist brought it all night long, standing out of the limelight but his playing refused to let him go unnoticed. The keys brought a defining quality to songs that morphed alternative indie songs into distinctive Spoon songs, and the additional guitarist ripped through his fret board chugging along all night. Not many bands feel as well balanced as Spoon live, and rarely are they balanced at such a high level.
The night was full of great moments and a melting pot of personalities. You can be middle-aged, married man or an inebriated 20-something gypsy girl dancing for the world to see at a Spoon show. No one minds. Spoon offers a rich experience full of unique qualities that set them apart from other bands in their genre. It’s these quirks that make the band’s live experience so special.