Spoon Yonge-Dundas Square, Toronto ON, June 21
Published Jun 22, 2014After a surprise early-morning set at the Horseshoe Tavern the previous night, Spoon were back at it again less than 24 hours later for a second NXNE show, this time on a much bigger stage. Coming out to "Also Sprach Zarathustra" ("we didn't ask for that to be our walk-on music," admitted Britt Daniel very sheepishly), the Austin quintet opened with one of three new songs from their upcoming They Want My Soul, new member Alex Fischel's verging-on-chaos textures on "Knock Knock Knock" introducing an additional wrinkle to Spoon's instantly familiar clipped, slashing guitar leads.
The carefully chosen, generous 22-song set touched on highlights from the group's last five albums (only debut Telephono and A Series of Sneaks were ignored) and expertly showcased all the facets of Spoon's sound, easily moving from the paranoid (the insistent "Don't Make Me A Target") to the contemplative ("The Ghost of You Lingers") to the exuberant (the horn-driven Motown pop of "The Underdog"). While a free concert in front of a large audience could never have matched the intimacy and sweat-drenched energy of the Horseshoe set, the thrill of watching Spoon trying to reproduce those maniacally precise studio arrangements in a live setting — and succeeding in doing so — more than made up for it.