Last Night: It Only Takes Spoon Three Songs to Get the Moore On Its Feet

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Laura Musselman
Spoon played The Moore on Friday, April 9. They play again on Saturday night. Tickets are available for $27.50.
In the beginning there were lighters, and cigarettes were freely smoked indoors without a care for carcinogens or open flames. And during "Tuesdays Gone," the people took a break from their doobies and Marb Reds long enough to hoist their lit fists in the air in unison.

Then came the cell phone. And during that certain moment at the Coldplay show, the masses flipped open their Samsungs and Nokias long enough to illuminate the arena with a synthetic glow just as plastic as the idols before them.

Lastly came the iPhone, and during Spoon's set at the Moore, Friday--the first in a two-night stand--the people snuck photos of the nation's favorite hard-hitting melody makers with one click of the Hipstamatic app*.

Last week, Spoon's Britt Daniel told me that for the band's latest album, Transference, he wanted "... to write some songs that kind of got in a groove and stayed in a groove. We haven't made a lot of songs like that."

Perhaps, but the band's albums have had a cohesive feeling, an identity. The songs dovetail seamlessly with one another. "Small Stakes" moves beautifully into "The Way We Get By" on Kill the Moonlight; "The Ghost Of You Lingers" morphs into "You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb" in a single motion on Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga. On record, the transitions are perfect, and create a feeling that the listener's experiencing one large piece of work, not a dozen songs messed together. Which is why it was jarring to experience the opposite in what too often felt like a fumbling set Friday night.

They didn't start well, hardly making an entrance, and unable (not that they tried too hard) to coax the audience out of their seats until song three, for a rigid run through "The Underdog," that set the tone for a night that felt a lot like a warm up for tonight's show.

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It wasn't until things started to get sweaty that they hit their stride--albeit temporarily. Spoon is at their best when they're dancing dangerously close to the edge of a precipice. For much of the set last night, they were reserved, calm, and completely safe. But during highlights of the night--the slow-burning numbers "The Beast and Dragon, Adored" from Gimmie Fiction, and the fresh faced "Written In Reverse," off Transference--the band leaned back and lost their cool for a minute or two, before bringing it back in.

It's this kind of tension, release, and restraint that makes the band's records such brights spots in the indie-pop landscape, but was too often missing from last night's set.

*Full disclosure: Yes, I downloaded the Hipstamatic app recently, too.

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Laura Musselman
 
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