God help us here in the Northeast. We just survived a late-winter Nor’easter on Friday that still has people waiting for their power to be restored. Today, another one is gearing up to stick it to us. And this one is bringing a lot more snow with it. Joy.
What is the proper response to this crappy weather? Live music, of course! Sure, we could stay home and watch the news people spook up the storm, or we could go see a show. We chose the latter. And we’re not just picking any show, we’re going with Spoon, the Austin, Texas indie rock band. And we’re not just picking any venue, we’re grabbing the TLA. Stick that up your coastal low pressure system, ok?
Getting to see Spoon at the TLA is a mega-bonus. The TLA holds maybe 300 people, has a nice elevated stage, and also features a sloping floor for the height-challenged. There are good sight lines all around, and the acoustics befit a former theater. You can do much worse – I know I have. To get to see a band of Spoon’s caliber in such a venue is remarkable, unless of course you caught them pre-fame and on the rise. This band has played really large venues in past forays through Philly, and last night’s show presented an opportunity not to be missed.
Spoon has been around since the mid-90s and they have a ton of critically-acclaimed albums and songs to their credit. You could liken them to Jennifer Anniston: both have been around a long time, but both are still bringing it in 2018. And like Ms. Anniston, they are nothing if not consistent – they have a signature sound that grooves; without being formulaic they don’t wander far from the ranch. As some in the media have noted, these guys just seem incapable of making a bad record. Here are two BRP exclusive videos from last night’s show to get you into it:
These guys have seen commercial success and they are clearly doing this tour to get back to their roots and play intimate venues. The Philly show sold out in less than a day thus proving that they could have played a much larger venue. We still found a good spot a few rows back from the stage, but off to the side where it was less crowded and we had good sight lines. Sorry that I didn't push my way to front (ala Low Cut Connie) to get you better pics and videos, but I'll try harder next time.
The band isn’t super dynamic on stage, but perhaps it’s because they had a major screw up with their equipment. Apparently, they had just played a festival in the Dominican Republic with My Morning Jacket, and while they arrived back in the States ok, their equipment got pulled by customs for extra screening. They borrowed and begged other equipment for last night’s show, and pulled it off. Nonetheless, that has to take something out of you.
It was a good setlist, and they played songs from a lot of different albums. Spoon is smart enough to play their better cuts, and it was an upbeat show with a lot of good tunes. They played about 1.5 hours, which isn’t exactly busting it, and they spent a bit too much time with the synth intros, but when they broke out into song, they were well played and professional. Here’s a link to the setlist:
One bummer was the opening act. The TLA listing didn’t include an opener, so I stupidly showed up at 8:30. But Spoon brought someone named Sneeks along anyway. In the competition for worst opening act over the past 12 months, Sneeks is neck-and-neck with Del Mar. I always respect a band that brings along stiff competition, but Spoon preferred to play it safe by bringing along a dud. We survived, but it was a long 30 minutes.
And it ended up costing me. I found a street parking spot about two blocks away on South Street, and maxed out the time on my credit card. I'm thinking it's my lucky day. But when I came out, I had a parking ticket. My meter expired about 10 minutes before I got to the car, and the ticket was written 5 minutes before (and only 5 minutes after my meter expired - who says governments aren't efficient?). Without the opener, I would have been way good. Sneeks cost me an additional $35! Damn. But oh well, it was worth it in the long run!
If you want more info on Spoon, here’s a link to their website.
Of course, Wikipedia, the font of all true and accurate knowledge in the world, has more biographical information if you are into that kind of thing.
Up next is The Menzingers. I’m really looking forward to seeing them, and it will be good to see them at the Queen in Wilmington. In the meantime, I’m going to keep pumping up the kicks here at BRP, so check back to catch the very latest. Survive the storm! Spring is almost here.
My name is Bill, and I live in the greater Philadelphia area. I love music, and I have a lot of opinions. This site is primarily focused on music, but sometimes I get off track. I hope you enjoy.