If you Google’d “Top Indie Bands,” Spoon would be there in the list right between Wilco and the Pixies. They brought that legendary indie prowess to NOLA on Tuesday, promoting their new album at the House of Blues. Spoon is from Austin, Texas, and along with Philadelphia’s Mondo Cozmo, they shared their fun, upbeat vibes with New Orleans’ “top indie fans.”
Spoon formed in 1993 with drummer Jim Eno and lead singer/guitarist Britt Daniel. With the help of an additional guitarist and bassist, they released their debut album Telephono in 1996. After over 20 years, they have recorded a total of nine studio albums and had a fair few lineup changes. They broke the commercial success barrier with the album Kill the Moonlight, which features one of their top tracks, “That’s the Way We Get By.” Since then, their albums have only gotten more cohesive and relatable, landing them airtime in big TV shows and movies such as “How I Met Your Mother” and “Stranger Than Fiction.” Their newest album, Hot Thoughts, the band’s idea of a “future rock” sound, was released on March 17th of this year.
Mondo Cozmo opened the night at about 8:30pm with some fairly cookie-cutter folk rock. They were a big band with a small sound. They did, however, render a nice cover of the Verve’s “Bittersweet Symphony.” After they played their biggest hit, “Shine,” they cleared the area for Spoon.
Spoon began with “Do I Have to Talk You Into It” from Hot Thoughts, but it started with an eerie, ambient keyboard improvisation from Alex Fischel before he churned out the distinct melody. They followed with two other popular, new songs: “Inside Out” and the title track from Hot Thoughts. The beaming crowd felt quite warmed up by this point and the band kept the hits coming, taking a turn back in time for their older favorites. Britt’s stage presence is lovely. He is relaxed, yet energetic and cordial. He flings himself and his guitar about like any rockstar would, but he was very polite to the crowd, engaging them in personal conversation and making wholesome jokes. He was very kinetic, even while laying down on his back to sing the Hot Thoughts ballad, “I Ain’t the One.”
Even though Britt and Jim are the founding members of Spoon, the award of MVP for the night would have to go to their keyboard player Alex. Between the songs that didn’t have immediate, flawless transitions, he would very often start an organic jam with himself, utilizing his laboratory of synth pads and keys to create a loud, thick composition of waves. These epic transitions were all rather long-winded, taking the crowd on a journey through digital space, before reminding them that they were attending one of the liveliest indie shows NOLA has seen this year.
Spoon kept the house satisfied with a well-mixed cocktail of classics including “Don’t You Evah,” “Do You,” “Target,” and more. They made a bang with their big hit “Underdog” from Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, then blended the end of it with two more: “Rainy Taxi” and “Black Like Me,” the final two songs of the set. For the encore, which was requested by the crowd with a synchronized stomping of feet, they cranked out four more songs, ending with “Camera” and “Rent I Pay.” The performance was lengthy, entertaining and satisfactory, but still left the fans desperate for another Spoonful.