Jan 25, 2008

Spoon @ Annandale Hotel

As if this week of magic could get any better. Well, it did. Because of one man and one band. That man is Britt Daniel (a god) and that band is Spoon. After inhabiting Art Deco theatres and ancient tents and recital halls it was nice to feel the sticky floor of a sweaty pub again. Spoon won't win the battle of pyrotechnics but they will always nearly win the battle of music. This is because, in my opinion, if they aren't the greatest band on Earth, they are well and truly in the discussion. Tight and uncompromising, swaggering and stylish. Impeccable tunes of wit and drama, melody and rhythm just bounced off the faded walls of the Annandale. On this Thursday night in Sydney, Britt Daniel was the man and we were his faithful minions.

I have seen this remarkable band twice before, but I could never, ever tire of them. Their finely textured and stridently rhythmical songs are as delicious as dark chocolate. Greatness never seemed so effortless. I squealed like a 5yo when they opened with "My Little Japanese Cigarette Case". This song is so under rated. It saunters and stalks like an animal. The buildup is intense, before exploding into the memorable chorus. I was set, I was there, the band had me. I was easy prey. "Don't Make Me A Target" followed and nothing else mattered. I knew the path, it would be a whirlwind journey through their venerable back catalogue. The band barely paused, storming through the set, hardly talking. Just playing and playing, expertly, definitively. "The Beast And Dragon, Adored" was a monster, its anthemic chorus bouncing off the walls. Oh, happy night! I was glad they brought out "Me And The Bean" again, a personal favourite and they tackled "The Ghost Of You Lingers", which I thought would be a difficult task live. It sounds like a perfect studio song to me, but live they added some bass and drums and it was very effective. A big surprise of the night was pulling out three songs from "A Series Of Sneaks". Displaying their older style of abrasive, frenetic rock it was welcome display of their heritage. To close with "Quincy Punk Episode" was a real shocker, but it shows that this band doesn't do things by the numbers, a pleasant development. Having said that, it then shocked me that there was no "Sister Jack" or "The Way We Give By". Normally they are given set list inclusions, but my disappointment was only slight as there was so much goodness on display. This was clearly evident in the 4 song closing block. "I Summon You" was all heartache and tender beauty, as was "Black Like Me" (Britt on acoustic). "The Underdog" was one of a few songs to feature a local brass section and it went down a treat. But the standout, for me, was the razor sharp ferocity of "Jonathon Fisk". It pounded and crashed the stage, like a hurricane. Stunning. Before you knew it the band was finished, then quickly returning for a 3 song encore including another favourite in "Rhthm & Soul". It was over, too quickly, too quickly. I needed more.

As stated, this band is very special to me. It is totally about the music. All of the band members know exactly what they have to do. They are the bedrock, supplying the foundation for Britt Daniel to work his magic. And magic it was. The man can do no wrong. Dressed impeccably, his distinctly husky voice is a serious weapon. Full of passion and soul, its intensity can never be under sold. His guitar work is quite remarkable too. Unique in its own way, his supple fingers extract every nuance of sound needed. This is where the Spoon sound lives, that pliable, tangible stroking of the guitar, pushing the rhythms to all the right places. Truly glorious. This night was an experience. The sound wasn't perfect, but I never quibble about these things. Because witnessing live music is much more then that. It is experiencing that feeling of music you love, seeing a favourite singer or band in front of your eyes. Enjoying that time with like minded people who want exactly the same thing. The same gift of life. And to top it all off, Britt Daniel smiled at me. For like 5 seconds, but I swear this is true. Truly, I wouldn't lie.

I have more photos at my Flickr.

Set List
My Little Japanese Cigarette Case
Don't Make Me A Target
Stay Don't Go
You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb
The Beast And Dragon, Adored
Me And The Bean
The Ghost Of You Lingers
The Delicate Place
The Minor Tough
Don't You Evah
Finer Feelings
Metal Detektor
I Turn My Camera On
They Never Got You
I Summon You
The Underdog
Jonathon Fisk
Black Like Me

Small Stakes
Rhthm & Soul
Quincy Punk Episode


  • At January 25, 2008 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Yeah I went to Arcade Fire, The National and Spoon too...Roll on Dan Deacon!!!!

  • At January 25, 2008 , Blogger Don said...

    What a wonderful show. I was at the Wed Arcade Fire show and felt they didn't really connect (not for lack of trying). For some reason the Enmore always seems to do supporting acts an injustice (even more so when they are followed by the likes of AF). But they were indeed rock stars last night.

  • At January 31, 2008 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

    Was the horn section from Sydney?

    They were great. Jim eno mentioned they would have one on triple J. I was left wanting more spoon, next time.

  • At January 31, 2008 , Blogger Wayne said...

    Britt introduced them as the Sydney Horns, so I am assuming they were. They were great, especially on The Underdog.


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