Published Mar 30, 2010While neither particularly strange nor boyish, the Strange Boys are tighter than a drum. The Austin, TX-based quartet kicked off a stacked triple bill, gussying up their brand of garage rock with flashes of skiffle, surf and the blues. Incidentally, nothing holds a big room like a harmonica and guitar heroics; the Strange Boys delivered both.
Next up and reliably eccentric, Deerhunter's front-man Bradford Cox arrived in winter garb, spouting random empirical nuggets of wisdom about Canada while his crack band abetted him with angular guitars and throbbing beats. Toying with psychedelia and the blues (again), the simmering set was just out there enough to surprise but melodic enough to entrance.
Foreplay finished, headliners Spoon took the stage in a blaze of cascading effects and circling melodies. The band live and die by singer Britt Daniel's swagger and drummer Jim Eno's kit, and both were atop their games throughout a fast-paced set that mixed old standbys and new stompers.
Crowd favourite "The Ghost of You Lingers" fused epic drum fills with melodrama to moving effect, while seesawing guitars made room for rhythmic bombast on the appositely titled "Rhythm and Soul." Throughout, Eric Harvey's keys got plenty of room to traipse, embracing glam on "The Way We Get By" and blues on "Written in Reverse." However, it was his dirty Southern rock guitar work that helped make "Trouble Comes Running" the highlight of the night.
Spoon's polished musicianship gave their sound a marked sheen that the razor-sharp mix emphasized. However, the secret to the band's success rested with Daniel's blue-collar voice, which lent even the cleanest of tracks an anthemic quality, simultaneously supplying gravitas and inspiring fist pumping.