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June 8, 2005

Spoon-fed quality

by Eve Gleichman, Online Editor-in-Chief
As 10:30 p.m. rolled around on June 3rd, the 9:30 club in Northeast DC was filled to capacity. The headlining act was Spoon, a band which began on an independent label, and has steadily gained notice since their premier on the popular teen television drama "The OC." Not only has the group undergone several facelifts since their first album release in 1998, but their recorded sound has become very methodical and calculated, and I was interested to see how this would translate on stage.

I admit I was anticipating an unenergetic and monotonous show, but by the end, I was delighted to have attended the performance. The choppy, upbeat sound which Spoon is most well known for encouraged me to put down my notepad and dance along with the diverse crowd that this formally "indie" band attracted.

The opening band was The Clientele, a hazy group with an eerie sound and languid choruses that came all the way from London to accompany Spoon in its nationwide tour. Gentle melodies of love and loss spilled from vocalist Alasdair MacLean's lips, though after a while, it was difficult to distinguish one sentimental song from another. In between handfuls of unmemorable and dull songs, The Clientele performed several impressive pieces, including "Breathing Soft and Low," in which MacLean gently sang, "But my fingertips/reaching out to touch your lips/flood my heart with nothing else but light." The Clientele provided good background music for enthusiastic Spoon fans, but they failed to bring zeal to the stage, making for an overall undistinguished opening act. Appreciative fans politely applauded the band's drawn out set, eagerly awaiting Spoon's appearance.

About fifteen minutes after The Clientele's final song, Spoon front-man Britt Daniels emerged, just visible through the haze of smoke that hovered over the jam-packed concert hall. Exuberant applause exploded as the rest of Spoon trotted out and played "Small Stakes," a buoyant opening for the lively concert. Thrilled fans danced in what little personal space they had, cheering as red and yellow lights reflected off of Daniels' ostentatious guitar.

After thanking the crowd for attending the show in one of his "favorite cities to perform," Daniels introduced his band, and launched into an eclectic mix of songs from all four of Spoon's releases. The highlight of the night was "Paper Tiger," a song with diverse breaks and steady guitar riffs under Daniels' comforting lyrics: "The new war will get you/It will not protect you/But I will be there with you/when you turn out the light." Equally charming songs were "The Delicate Place" and "I Summon You," two catchy works from their latest album, "Gimme Fiction." Daniels then proceeded to lead the band into a series of songs from their 2001 release "Girls Can Tell," including "Lines in the Suit," which began in steady, calculated guitar strums and showed off Daniels' vocal range for the first time.

Spoon played into the night, and didn't wind down until well after midnight with "Someone Something," a poppy tune which sent the hands of enthusiastic fans into the air and their feet off the ground.

Three encores later, Spoon came out one final time to say goodbye to their supportive fans, and left the crowd screaming for more. When all I got were techno beats courtesy of the 9:30 Club and intimidating looks from a particularly massive bouncer, I filed out of the packed hall and onto 9th Street, leaving an outstanding show behind me.



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  • jeff on June 11, 2005 at 10:32 AM
    hahhaha you didnt mention how you got lost in northeast dc and had a near death experience.... great article though! WOLFGANG
  • sarah on June 11, 2005 at 10:52 AM
    your first comment ever eve! :) great article
  • Adam on June 11, 2005 at 11:04 AM
    go eve! awesome article!
  • jv on June 11, 2005 at 12:09 PM
    nice article eve! keep rockin the reviews
  • Molly Roth (View Email) on June 11, 2005 at 1:09 PM
    Well done! Spoon is so great live. I hope that the band reads this review; it's totally brilliant.
  • yea eve!!! on June 11, 2005 at 1:50 PM
    great job evee!!! we love you!
  • Spoonman on June 11, 2005 at 1:54 PM
    As this appears to be your first published article, I would hardly expect it to be perfect, but some further fact-checking/proof-reading would not have hurt. As you point out yourself, Spoon's "Girls Can Tell," was released in 2001, so I feel I must (and must in the relative sense... no one's life depends on this fact, just my air of pretension) point out that their first album was not released in 2002, and in fact, they had released several albums beforehand - I've been meaning to get their 1998 release, "Series of Sneaks."

    Furthermore, on the OC note, correlation is not causation. Spoon has long been one of the more prominent indie bands (they were even once on a major label, Elektra, before being dropped). I would argue their more recent slight rise in prominence is not due a TV show (I mean, Of Montreal has had their music featured on the OC more than once, I believe, but they won't be headlining the 9:30 club anytime soon). Rather, I tend to believe their prominence has slowly risen as they have released one solid album after another - this is a trend, not the work of adoration of fans of Seth Cohen and company. And, not to burst any bubbles, they aren't exactly a "huge" band; they are still more underground than main-stream and are on the independent label Merge, although that hasn't stopped the Arcade Fire from being everywhere. Still, I think the general populous would still call Spoon "indie," if... umm... the general populous used that term.

    Of course, everything I just have written can be disregarded since I chose such a ridiculously bad name for this post. I am now going to proceed to go get a life/do something more productive than leave critical posts like this on a high school online publication.
  • James B. on June 11, 2005 at 6:20 PM
    Eve i thought the review was perfect. You did a really great job, and it makes me wanna go see Spoon perform.
    To Spoonman - I don't think Eve meant that their success is due to The OC. To me, it suggests that The OC clued people into Spoon in the first place, allowing them to appreciate the steadily more impressive albums. Also, before you criticize for such small detail, reconsider the spelling of "populace."
  • to spoonman on June 11, 2005 at 6:21 PM
    oh yeah well you spelled 'populace' wrong
  • big lou on June 12, 2005 at 8:22 PM
    eve your first article on SCO is beast! You are BEAST!
  • The K Dawg on June 12, 2005 at 8:53 PM
    great article, eve. The first in what Iím sure is many fantastic musical reviews.

    keep it up.
  • rocker 101 on July 7, 2005 at 5:37 PM
    i love rock
    rock is my favorite
    yea
    rock n roll
    rock on
    hardcore
    the bands gonna make it i swear
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