SPOON: THE PHOENIX, 06/24/2015

Wednesday night the veteran indie rock outfit Spoon swaggered into The Phoenix Concert Theatre and quickly reminded everyone why they are the class act they are. Lead vocalist, guitarist and general Spoon dictator Britt Daniel and drummer Jim Eno have lived through a few different incarnations of the band, but I would be willing to wager that both would say that this is the most dynamic the band has ever sounded. Though originally a trio, Spoon has worked as a four-piece since the release of 2005’s Gimme Fiction, but now the ranks have swelled again for group’s latest opus, They Want My Soul. Multi-instrumentalist Alex Fischel, who also played in Daniel’s side project Divine Fits, joins the all ready established Eric Harvey on keys and Rob Pope on bass to assist in adding the sonic layers to the refined intensity.

This was an “at capacity” show, impressive considering it was the second of two nights at the venue, but maybe not that surprising considering they played to a packed Sound Academy back in 2010. What is most remarkable about Spoon is the quality control assumed over both their recorded output and their live shows…and certainly this show was no different.

The Spoon live show always touches on all aspects of the back catalogue and on this night five of the first six songs came from five different records. You got the new record’s “Knock Knock Knock”, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga’s “Don’t Make Me a Target”, “Small Stakes” from Kill The Mooolight, “My Mathematical Mind” from Gimme Fiction and the A Series of Sneaks gem “Metal Detektor.” All of these were delivered as razor sharp as they were written with no room for fluff or filler…even Britt Daniel’s problems with his hollow body Telecaster couldn’t derail the early momentum!

The band began to stretch out with some artsy flourishes in “The Beast and Dragon, Adored” and “I Summon You” but they were just as happy to recreate the pop song perfection of hits like “The Underdog” and “You Got Yr Cherry Bomb.”

The encore was started with one of my personal favourites in “Don’t You Evah” and was followed by a passionate take of “They Want My Soul.” It was here as well as numerous other times throughout the night that you could appreciate what Fischel has added to the band. Whether it was an added layer of reverbed guitar here or a delicate piano there, Spoon has never sounded so full.

What better way to cap a glorious show than to pull out a cover of “TV Set” by The Cramps and to send the throngs out into the night with a smile on the face and visions of Lux Interior dancing in the brain!

- Johnny Hooper