Spoon and The Clientele

Rialto Theatre, Wednesday, June 22 This space was originally reserved for a review of Musical Youth's performance last Saturday at the Rialto, but due in part to some creative scheduling on the part of the promoters for that show (an unbilled local act; supposed headliners Musical Youth performing second-to-last), I missed 'em. And, though we normally try to steer clear of having the same writer review a show for which he or she has already written a feature article, aside from the last five or so songs of Architecture in Helsinki's performance at Solar Culture on Friday (which was awesome, by the way; don't miss them when they return in the fall), the only show I managed to catch last week was Spoon. Thus, I am forced to break the rules and blather a bit more about the Austinites, this time in the form of a critique of their Rialto show on Wednesday, June 22.

Frankly, there isn't much to critique. Having seen Spoon probably 10 times over the years, I can offer up that the recent Tucson show found in band in easily the best spirits I've ever witnessed. (When did Britt Daniel start smiling so much?) They seemed to truly be enjoying themselves throughout the entire performance, and it was downright infectious. Not even a first-time-drunk teen girl who climbed on stage and got in Daniel's way (only to stand there dumbfounded that she was actually on the stage!) could break the spirit. The rest of the audience was far better behaved, if no less enthusiastic. There was a lot of love in that room.

And why not? With a set list that cherry-picked mostly from their universally excellent, most recent three albums--Girls Can Tell, Kill the Moonlight, and Gimme Fiction--the band was a study in taut, pulsing grooves and infectious, off-kilter pop songs. Highlights were plentiful and included the stinging guitar interplay of "Fitted Shirt," the minimal white-boy funk of "I Turn My Camera On," and crowd favorite "The Way We Get By," which in a just world would have been a massive hit.

Come to think of it, an awful lot of the songs Spoon performed sounded like missed opportunities for adventurous radio programmers as they rang through the much-improved PA of the theater. (Good news, music fans: Believe the hype about the sound improvements; buying a ticket for a Rialto show is no longer a sound quality risk.)

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