Tag Archives: Spoon


Spoon Make a Beautiful Night in Central Park Even Better

September 11th, 2014

Spoon – Rumsey Playfield – September 10, 2014

Spoon – Rumsey Playfield – September 10, 2014
Last night was perfect to see music outdoors, the temperature was just right and the conditions were breezy, not blustery. The same could be said for Spoon, the Austin, Texas, five-piece that made high-level rock and roll look easy with little bluster at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park. With equal parts grit in his guitar and his voice, Britt Daniel kicked off things with “Knock Knock Knock,” off Spoon’s newest release, They Want My Soul. The crowd was a catchall mix of types: boozy college girls, graying rockers, new parents enjoying a night out, giddy Spoon geeks with tour T-shirts and a running set list on their phones, and everything in between. The career-spanning set appealed to them all, each song drawing excited reactions and sing-alongs from at least one or two happy fans.

The show hit its stride early with the clavinet-heavy groover “Small Stakes,” off 2002’s Kill the Moonlight, and “Inside Out” and its ethereal three-keyboard breakdown. The stage was set up with large white-sheet panels that filled with light and shadows. Each song was enhanced with its own color palette, the mood running through a rock and roll rainbow of sorts. So there was “Who Makes Your Money” in mellow pink with a matching bass riff and ripping guitar; summer-sun orange for “Rhthm and Soul,” a muted purple-orange mix for the chunky guitar-and-piano voodoo rock of “My Mathematical Mind”; and a particularly saucy guitar jam in green for “Got Nuffin.”

Daniel switched to an acoustic guitar for a couple of highlights, including the set-closing “Black Like Me,” which began with no color at all, murky shadows on the panels until a high-energy bridge in white, a mirrored pyramid suspended above the stage became a primitive disco ball as the audience sang, “Yeah!” along with the band. The three-song encore was, as it should be, highlighted by the hits everyone wanted to hear: “You Got Yr Cherry Bomb” in cherry red (natch) and a big, sing-along “The Underdog” in pretty much every color of the rainbow. —A. Stein

Photos courtesy of Pip Cowley | pipcowleyphotography.tumblr.com


Spoon Return to Play Rumsey Playfield in Central Park

September 9th, 2014

After releasing Girls Can Tell (stream it below) and Kill the Moonlight (stream it below) in consecutive years around the turn of the century, Spoon made the transition from underrated band to one of the bigger names in all of alternative rock, thanks to what AllMusic calls “a heady blend of precision punk and serpentine classic rock.” Their seventh album, the excellent Transference (stream it below), came out in 2010—Spoon have since blossomed from a four-piece into a five-piece with Alex Fischel (keys and guitar) joining Britt Daniel (vocals and guitar), Jim Eno (drums), Eric Harvey (keys and vocals) and Rob Pope (bass and vocals)—so it’s safe to say fans have been patiently awaiting the Austin, Texas, group’s latest effort, They Want My Soul (stream it below), which came out last month to some considerable acclaim. Rolling Stone called the album “an immediate grabber on par with the group’s best work to date” and added that the band has “always done surprisingly well on their own terms, in their own world. And that world sounds bigger and brighter than ever.” Spoon (above, performing “Inside Out” last night on Late Show with David Letterman) bring their engaging live show to New York City tomorrow night at Rumsey Playfield in Central Park. Arrive early to see !!! and Operators.


The Best Summer Festival Starts Tomorrow Night

September 4th, 2014

While it might seem like summer ended on Labor Day, not only does it last nearly another three weeks, but also the summer festival with the best lineup kicks off tomorrow night in Boston. That’s right: Boston Calling is back, and how. On Friday night, things get started with the National, Neutral Milk Hotel and Future Islands. And then the rest of the weekend is absolutely packed with Lorde, Childish Gambino, Girl Talk, Volcano Choir, the Hold Steady, Bleachers, Sky Ferreira, S. Carey and Clifflight on Saturday. Plus Sunday brings something for everyone with Nas, the Roots, the Replacements, Spoon, the 1975, Twenty One Pilots, Lake Street Dive, the War on Drugs, White Denim, San Fermin and Gentlemen Hall. So do yourself a favor and ship up to Boston this weekend.


Boston Calling: Summer Starts Tonight

May 23rd, 2014

Summer this year officially lasts from 6/21 to 9/21, but the summer season runs differently, bracketed by two fantastic Boston Calling festivals—over Memorial Day weekend and the weekend after Labor Day. This Saturday and Sunday are already sold out, but the good news is that this year Boston Calling packs in even more music and kicks off a night earlier, with a full-on folk attack beginning tonight at 6 p.m. with Jack Johnson, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros and Cass McCombs.

And as things begin winding down at beaches across the land, Boston Calling returns with another fantastic three days and nights of nonstop music in early September: the National, Neutral Milk Hotel and Future Islands on 9/5, Lorde, Childish Gambino, Girl Talk, Volcano Choir, the Hold Steady, Bleachers, Skey Ferreira, S. Carey and Clifflight on 9/6, and Nas, the Roots, the Replacements, Spoon, the 1975, Twenty One Pilots, Lake Street Dive, the War on Drugs, White Denim, San Fermin and Gentlemen Hall on 9/7.

(Take a look at last year’s inaugural Boston Calling, above.)



John Vanderslice Proves Why He’s So Likable

November 6th, 2013

John Vanderslice – Mercury Lounge – November 5, 2013

John Vanderslice has been making music for more than a decade, however I’m most familiar with his production prowess. Vanderslice has recorded such acts as Death Cab
for Cutie
, Spoon and the Mountain Goats in his two-room recording studio, Tiny Telephone, in San Francisco. He is the type of guy who buys a round of beers for his fans, and it’s no surprise that he is well loved by those who have collaborated with him. During the late show last night at the Mercury Lounge, Vanderslice thanked the audience for coming to watch him play at 11 p.m. Spanning his vast discography to delight new and old fans, he began with “The Parade,” from 2007’s Emerald City, and followed with “Exodus Damage,” off Pixel Revolt.

Turning to newer material, “How the West Was Won,” the first single from his latest, Dagger Beach, provided the joie de vivre of the evening. Fittingly the video for the track melds his music with all the behind-the-scenes “heavy lifting” that goes on behind producing a record. Vanderslice’s last album was successfully funded by a Kickstarter campaign that generated close to $80,000. Rewards ranged from a digital download of the album to Vanderslice marrying a backer (to someone else.) No one actually took him up on that, but a few got him to perform at house shows and one even got to record at Tiny Telephone. His Kickstarter also funded John Vanderslice Plays Diamond Dogs, which were given away as limited-edition digital copies. He played “Sweet Thing” and “Big Brother” from that cover album.

To cap off the night Vanderslice, drummer Jason Slota and sax and flutist Mitch Marcus came down from the stage to encore among audience members. Fans joined in on “White Dove,” singing along to the chorus: “White dove, white dove. What are you thinking of?” As Tuesday evening became early Wednesday morning, there was no doubting Vanderslice’s likability. No pretense, just genuine care. —Sharlene Chiu

Exclusive Video: Divine Fits Rock a Hotel Room

October 29th, 2012

Apart from his sterling work as frontman for rock stalwarts Spoon, Britt Daniel “wanted to try some new things and go some places I hadn’t gone before.” So he teamed up with Wolf Parade guitarist Dan Boeckner and New Bomb Turks drummer Sam Brown to form Divine Fits. Joined by Alex Fischel on keys, the foursome crafted A Thing Called Divine Fits, which Rolling Stone calls “their psychedelic, synth-heavy LP.” Here, the band plays “Civilian Stripes” exclusively for The Bowery Presents Live channel on YouTube.

In a room at New York City’s Ace Hotel, the guys in Divine Fits discuss the music their family listened to, meeting one another and when they knew the band would be just fine. Watch the interview: http://youtu.be/Kvknel_8MTQ. And subscribe to The Bowery Presents Live to watch more performances and interviews like these, and the latest info on our upcoming live-streaming shows, like Grouplove live from Terminal 5 on Friday.


Influential Label Showcases Talent

October 19th, 2012

Merge Records Showcase – Mercury Lounge – October 18, 2012

Mount Moriah (Photo: Dan Rickershauser)

One could argue that no other independent label from the past 20 years has released as many instant classics as Merge Records. After all, they gave the OK for the Magnetic Fields to put out a three-album collection of 69 love songs, they introduced bands like Neutral Milk Hotel and Arcade Fire to the world and they gave a rock act by the name of Spoon a second chance. So it’s safe to say that Merge is on a bit of a hot streak that might not be cooling off anytime soon. While any given day of the CMJ Music Marathon is a somewhat frantic race to absorb as much great music as possible, last night’s Merge showcase at Mercury Lounge, spanning almost seven hours and six different acts, was something of a cruel temptation and a great excuse for ruining the following workday by staying out past 2 a.m.

“It’s kind of hard to follow your label boss, though I’m sure he’d hate to be called that,” said Eleanor Friedberger, taking the stage after a set from Superchunk frontman and Merge Records cofounder Mac McCaughan. Friedberger played a solo acoustic set with some “in the works” new material that could come out early next year. She was followed by a searing set from Mount Moriah. “We’re Mount Moriah. We’re from Durham and Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and we’re really excited to put some records out on Merge,” said lead singer Heather McEntire. The set sampled songs off their self-titled debut, as well as some new tunes from their upcoming album. The band’s sound is familiar yet unique, a strange combination of all genres Americana (blues, rock, country, soul, gospel).

It makes sense that as of September they’re sharing a label with acts like Lambchop, self-proclaimed “Nashville’s most fucked-up country band.” Between Mount Moriah and another recent Merge signee (and show opener), William Tyler, it will be interesting to see if the label can continue to push the boundaries of country music, bringing this strange new iteration of the genre to music fans usually repulsed by the word country. “We’ve been listening to a lot of the Allman Brothers Band—I don’t know if you could tell,” said McEntire after firing through a particularly bluesy-rock new song. You could tell, but this was a very good thing. If the past is any indicator, 2013 should be a huge year for some or even all of these bands. And if the performances last night are any indicator, it probably will be. —Dan Rickershauser


Divine Fits Hit Webster Hall Sunday Night

October 19th, 2012

How often have you had a conversation with someone at a concert about doing something in the future that never came to fruition? Fortunately, when Spoon frontman Britt Daniel ran into Wolf Parade guitarist Dan Boeckner at a show, their discussion of forming a band together didn’t fall by the wayside. Sure, it took a little bit of time, but the payoff—joining together with New Bomb Turks drummer Sam Brown to form Divine Fits—was more than worth it. With the help of Alex Fischel on keys, the trio put out an album, the very well-received A Thing Called Divine Fits (stream it below), in late August. And despite this seeming like it could be a one-off experience, Pitchfork says Bockener and Daniel say it’s an ongoing project “and rock fans should hope they stick to their promise.” But even if they don’t, you can still see Divine Fits (above, playing “My Love Is Real” for Studio Q) at Webster Hall on Sunday.


Spoon – Music Hall of Williamsburg – September 13, 2010

September 14th, 2010

Spoon - Music Hall of Williamsburg - September 13, 2010

Photos courtesy of Jennifer Macchiarelli | www.jennylow.com


A Fire in the Garden

August 6th, 2010

Arcade Fire – Madison Square Garden – August 5, 2010

(Photo: Mina K)

(Photo: Mina K)

Both physically and symbolically, Madison Square Garden represents the center of entertainment in New York City. Elongated posters of iconic images remind visitors of the venue’s historic past in sports, music and, yes, the Westminster Kennel Club dog show. By the shear force of its name, MSG amplifies all events it houses. So when Arcade Fire booked not one but two headlining dates this August, expectations abounded.

The Canada-based indie-rock band is responsible for two outstanding records, Funeral and Neon Bible, and they released their third album, The Suburbs, this week. While this is a relatively small discography for a band scheduled to sell out “the World’s Most Famous Arena,” songs like “Wake Up” have permeated the mainstream. On Thursday night against any and all doubts, Arcade Fire delivered an unforgettable performance.

Supported by openers Owen Pallett and indie-rock veterans Spoon, Arcade Fire filled the venue with their triumphant songs, boundless energy and wholly transfixed fans. All nine members of the touring band dressed like an advertisement for individuality. In addition to frontman Win Butler’s fawned-over-on-the-Internet haircut, Régine Chassagne wore a sequined dress and Richard Reed Parry seemed to have found one of David Bowie’s vintage jumpsuits. Their appearance, as well as Terry Gilliam’s simultaneous live Webcast, acted as a show within a show. This, however, was secondary to the group’s incredible renditions of anthems “Rebellion (Lies),” “Keep the Car Running” and “Intervention.” There was an urgency and awareness to their performance, which truly connected with the audience. At the end of their encore featuring “Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels),” it strangely felt as if MSG wasn’t big enough for Arcade Fire. —Jared Levy

(Check out highlights of this show here.)


Spoon – Radio City Music Hall – March 26, 2010

March 29th, 2010

Spoon - Radio City Music Hall - March 26, 2010

Photos courtesy of Greg Notch | photography.notch.org/music


From Haiti to Williamsburg

January 25th, 2010

Haiti Benefit – Music Hall of Williamsburg – January 23, 2010

Zach Galifianakis

Zach Galifianakis

In the wake of the earthquake that devastated the people and capital city of Haiti, individuals and organizations have responded with an outpouring of humanitarian aid. Telethons, tweets and texts have raised millions of dollars. However, a sustained effort on the part of global citizens is necessary as Haiti continues to recover and rebuild. Toward that end, The Bowery Presents and Brooklyn Vegan teamed up to assemble an incredible group of comedians and musicians for a Haiti benefit on Saturday night at the Music Hall of Williamsburg. The full lineup consisted of Zach Galifianakis, Britt Daniel (of Spoon), Justin Vernon (of Bon Iver), St. Vincent, Janeane Garofalo, Wyatt Cenac (of The Daily Show) and the live debut of John Shade. While each performer did an abbreviated set, the night featured some hilarious jokes and breathtaking songs.

Musicians and comedians alternated their sets with Leo Allen and Bobby Tisdale acting as MCs. Jokes ranged from Cenac making fun of PETA to just about every comedian ragging on Williamsburg hipsters. “This used to be a good neighborhood,” yelled Galifianakis during his show-stealing performance. The slovenly and unkempt comic kept the audience off-kilter with a barrage of absurdist one-liners. He even pulled off the difficult task of bringing satire to the night’s cause when he joked, “I was doing Haiti benefits before the earthquake.”

The musicians in attendance provided a bevy of incredibly heartfelt originals and covers. Daniel appeared with White Rabbits drummer Jamie Levinson and opened with a stripped-down, guitar version of John Lennon’s “Isolation.” His distinctive falsetto and off-the-cuff vocals also colored my favorite song on Spoon’s new album, Transference, “Who Makes Your Money.” St. Vincent followed with Jackson Browne’s “These Days” and the National’s “Mistaken for Strangers.” All stood transfixed by St. Vincent’s soft guitar work and lithe vocals. Vernon joined in for her song “The Party,” and the two collaborated on a crowd-pleasing rendition of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene.” For all in attendance, the event showed an outpouring of support and a gracious display of talent. —Jared Levy

Photos courtesy of Jen Macchiarelli | www.jennylow.com


A Big Band in a Small Room

January 22nd, 2010

The sidewalk in front of Mercury Lounge was divided into two lines like some sort of downtown apartheid: One for those seeking to pay their way in to see Britt Daniel and the other for those with their names on the guest list. They were faced in opposite directions—the music-industry insiders and the morally righteous superfans willing to stand in the cold and pay real money for music. It was thus written on the street that something special was happening inside. A band that will play Radio City Music Hall in two months was playing this tiny sold-out venue.

Spoon took the stage just after 10 and, Daniel, in a brown fitted shirt (he wrote an entire song about this in 2001), was awkward in the way cool people can get away with being weird and compelling. He thanked us for coming, and the room buzzed with the sense that we should be thanking him. Spoon slipped into “Black Like Me,” maybe their most cerebral effort, before shifting into “Is Love Forever?,” off their latest album, Transference, a downstroke anthem that ends with a collision of reverb and the feeling of a pulled plug. Daniel played most of the new record, including “Who Makes Your Money” and “Nobody Gets Me but You,” in the first half of the set. The crowd, quite obviously a sea of personal and music-business connections, leaned close and the room approached the feeling of a birthday party where everyone was sure their invitation was genuine.

Daniel upped the ante in the set’s final third. Favorites “Cherry Bomb,” “I Summon You” and “Beast and Dragon, Adored,” appeared next to new cuts like “Mystery Zone,” “Written in Reverse” and the night’s closer, the propulsive “Got Nuffin.” Daniel thanked us again for standing in the cold and we silently replied that we mostly hadn’t. But some did, and for the feeling of a major event with a big band in a little room, this is exactly what counted. —Geoff Nelson