I spent last night seeing Spoon play at the Electric Factory. I went in with my expectations somewhat low; the band didn't really wow me with their lackluster Saturday Night Live appearance. Tonight's show didn't get off to such a smooth start either; the opening acts were supposed to be DJ Dave P and the Ponys, but Mr. P was nowhere to be found (perhaps he remembered, sitcom style, that he scheduled
two dates Making Time for the same night, leading to wacky hijinks), and an announcement over the PA revealed that travel problems would prevent the Ponys from being there. When Spoon did amble onto the stage, it was almost anticlimactic; the house music didn't even get turned off until they were a few bars into their first song.
After that, though, it was quite a solid performance. Britt Daniel kept the between-songs banter to a minimum (though he did encourage the guy smoking pot near me to pass it over to his mom, whom he said was in the audience). Aside from the horn trio that came onstage for a few songs, it was generally a no-frills performance, but then Spoon is a band with little use for frills. The only time when they departed from their proven guitar/keyboard/bass/drums formula was on their rendition of "The Ghost of You Lingers," which was appropriately atmospheric but didn't do anything to make me like the song more.
While it wasn't the sort of transcendent performance that kept me enthralled from beginning to end, it was the next best thing: a very good concert in which all of my favorite songs ("My Mathematical Mind," "Don't Make Me a Target") sounded excellent. My only quibble is this: after the encore, almost all of the people near the stage started filing out. As I moved forward to fill their void, I thought, "Those fools! Do they really think that Spoon would leave without playing 'Sister Jack' and 'The Way We Get By?'" When the band returned to the stage for the second encore, with me mere feet from the stage, I was feeling mighty smug. But then, a few songs later, they did leave without playing "Sister Jack" or "The Way We Get By." Not cool, fellas. Not cool.
Oh, and while the Electric Factory crowd had a below-average number of fratty assholes, I wanted to pose a question to the tall foursome in front of me: what's the point of shoving your way up near the stage if you're going to spend most of the show talking and taking group photos of yourselves? You know, there's a band on the stage that you paid money to see.