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Thursday, November 10, 2005

 

And My Ears Are Still Ringing

Mattie and I caught Spoon at Pearl Street in Northampton last Friday. Decent show, but I'm still kicking myself for leaving my earplugs in the car. First time since college, 12 years, that I've gone to a show without ear protection. Spoon was loud--not as loud as that Dinosaur Jr. and My Bloody Valentine show I went to in 1992, but loud enough so that I still notice the aftereffects a week later. It's only really bad at night; I'm hoping it will fade over time as it used to back when I was a stupid kid. I rarely see other people with earplugs at shows. Are all these 25 year-old rock kids walking around all day with gongs constantly ringing in their heads?

Spoon has a strong catalog of muscular, guitar-crunchy, beat-heavy tunes (iTunes just added most of their records if you're curious), and an obvious love for playing live. Frontman Britt Daniel also has a great rock voice, from husky and fuzzed out to a Some Girls falsetto, constantly punctuating lyrics with "oh yeah"s, "come on"s and "well awright"s. He responded to repeated requests for "The Way We Get By" by laughing at "all you O.C. motherfuckers"--but within three songs, he played it. There wasn't much that the band didn't play--most of this year's Gimmie Fiction was covered, along with large chunks of 2002's Kill the Moonlight and selected songs from Girls Can Tell and Series of Sneaks. The four song encore led off with one of my favorite older tracks, "I Could See the Dude" off of the Soft Effects e.p. They also did the great new iTunes exclusive "My First Time Vol. 3", which seems to exist as a demonstration that they could be a full-time white-funk disco band if they felt like it.

Daniel has perfected the heavily distorted anti-guitar solo; you can hear it on the records, but live it's something else altogether--the first set ended with the rest of the band leaving the stage as Daniel, back turned to the audience, played a lengthy, taut series of white noise bursts. The noise never meanders; Spoon is too precise for that. Occasionally this tendency veers into the methodical; some songs went on a few repetitive measures past restlessness, as if the band were working through a math problem via rock riffage and felt obligated to show all their work. Too much of a good thing isn't the worst sin, though. Daniel recently commented that he'd love to emulate Prince in releasing a record a year, but he's too busy doing things like his own laundry. I recommend that he hire somebody to take care of his pants.

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