Saturday, December 12, 2009

[review] Spoon @ Crystal Ballroom (12-11-2009)

Spoon Gives Fans a December to Remember

All week long, local radio station 94.7 KNRK has been hosting a string of fantastic shows at Portland's Crystal Ballroom as a part of their December to Remember series. Saving the best acts for last, Friday night kicked off with a killer performance from Austin's Black Joe Lewis and the Honeybears. Comically sporting a Tiger Woods hat, Black Joe Lewis tore through a funky, soul-filled performance featuring songs from the highly entertaining Tell 'Em What Your Name Is. Highlights from the set were "Big Booty Woman," "Get Yo Shit," and "I'm Broke."

Next up on the night was LA's Anya Marina. She only performed two songs in a short acoustic set, which I found as slightly odd. Her second song, "Satellite Heart," was apparently one that she wrote for the New Moon soundtrack. The very mention of New Moon erupted a number of boos from the crowd. No surprise there...

Last on the bill was Spoon. Treating their home-away-from-home with a rare sneak-peak of their upcoming album, the band kicked off their 22-song set with "Mystery Zone." Hearing it live, I may have changed my mind on how I feel about this new track. I don't love it, but I think it's better than my first impression. Wasting no time with in-between-song chatter, Spoon catapulted into an extra groovy "Don't You Evah," then brought out the Honeybears' horn section for "You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb" and "Stay Don't Go." Who knew that "Stay Don't Go" would sound so amazing with horns? Best song of the night! We were then treated with another new track: the punk-inspired "Is Love Forever?" which I think sounded pretty good. They blew through some Spoon concert staples, but we also got to hear a few more tracks off Transference. In particular, the new single "Written In Reverse" was a home run. I was lukewarm about "Trouble Comes Running," but my spirits were soon lifted by "Target," "Fitted Shirt," and many other Spoon classics. The Honeybears returned for the set closers to enhance Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga's "The Underdog" and "Rhthm & Soul."

If the concert had ended right there, I would have been able to go home with a permagrin, but Spoon returned for a 4-song encore. "Black Like Me" started it all off and sounded as good as ever, however, I was completely blow away by what followed: the live version of "Got Nuffin" sent chills down my spine. Lead singer Britt Daniel even announced that it was the best "Got Nuffin" performance they've ever had. The night ended with "The Way We Get By" and a rocking rendition of "Jonathan Fisk."

This was, hands down, the best Spoon show I've attended! Hopefully they'll return to the Pacific Northwest after Transference drops and grace the city of Seattle with an equally awesome show. A full set list is posted below:

Spoon set list (12-11-2009):
Mystery Zone
Don't You Evah
You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb (w/ horns)
Stay Don't Go (w/ horns)
Is Love Forever?
The Beast and Dragon, Adored
The Ghost of You Lingers
Written in Reverse
I Turn My Camera On
Trouble Comes Running
Don't Make Me A Target
Fitted Shirt
They Never Got You
I Summon You
Small Stakes
My Mathematical Mind
The Underdog (w/ horns)
Rhthm and Soul (w/ horns)
Black Like Me
Got Nuffin
The Way We Get By
Jonathan Fisk