Live: Spoon Feign Maturity At Radio City Music Hall

Spoon
Radio City Music Hall
Friday, March 26

"This place is all right," declares Britt Daniel, understating as always. "I think we are the band that played the most times at Brownies and then played Radio City Music Hall." Calling out their long-shuttered-East-Village-rock-club roots is a slightly more pleasant way of framing the harrowing thought I had walking in here tonight: This band is way way way too close to 20 years old. Spoon are basically classic rock now. Are they old? Am I old? Oh shit.

Spoon, not burdened by such ennui, assert their youthful vivacity by being super loud. As precise and minimalist and restrained as many of these 21st-century mod-rock tunes are -- particularly those on January's Transference (dig the one-note piano stabs on "Got Nuffin'") -- most eventually indulge a bit of blaring anti-guitar-solo thrashing, the climaxes to "My Mathematical Mind" or "Nobody Gets Me But You" or "Jonathon Fisk" atonal and nearly avant-garde, Daniel and his crew in the latter case even drowning out a six-man horn section on hand to liven up their poppiest, cheeriest moments, including "You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb" and "The Underdog." Vocal chords get shredded, the Damned get covered ("Love Song"), toy pianos get pushed over.

Plus guest stars! The Fiery Furnaces' Eleanor Friedberger shows up to do her own "Waiting to Know You" and a strutting, stabbing version of Kill the Moonlight's "Someone Something"; Wolf Parade's Dan Boeckner rasps thorough both his own "The Modern World" and "I Saw the Light," one of many Transference tunes improved live -- fuller, angrier, less constrained. At this point in the show, as inevitably happens at Radio City, many patrons who've bought super-expensive drinks outfitted with those glow-in-the-dark drink stirrers have gotten the bright idea to start whipping them (the stirrers) at one another, often from the balcony, which is visually appealing if you don't mind getting whacked in the head occasionally. A somewhat juvenile scene that mitigates the whole nearly-20-years-old thing nicely. Ain't nobody here lost their edge just yet


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