Touring behind “Lucifer on the Sofa,” the Austin band proved its mettle and more Tuesday in one of 2022’s most compelling concerts to date. The review and photo gallery.
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Rock’s most memorable concerts usually boast a perfect combination of elements: riveting performances, lively crowds, infectious songs amid well-crafted set lists, groovy lighting, top-shelf sound.
Oh, and a “magical setting” – something Spoon’s drummer, Jim Eno, told me that he regards as a key component of many standout live shows.
Well, Tuesday’s tour stop by the inventive Austin rock band at Kalamazoo’s historic State Theatre checked all of those boxes, with a fat red circle around “riveting performance” for extra emphasis.
Touring behind its critically hailed, 10th studio album, “Lucifer on the Sofa,” Spoon’s rare West Michigan appearance gave fans a tantalizing, nearly non-stop retrospective of the band’s career, from 2001’s “The Fitted Shirt” (from “Girls Can Tell”) to five songs from their latest epic release, starting it all with the captivating “Held” and “The Devil & Mister Jones.”
Throughout, the ridiculously tight fivesome led by singer-guitarist Britt Daniel delivered an absolutely fetching combination of melodic beauty, harmony, instrumental mettle and rock ‘n’ roll cacophony.
Daniel, of course, reigned as the consummate, gregarious frontman, boasting those perfect, slightly raspy rock vocals while cavorting on stage, dropping to his knees, slapping dynamic drummer Jim Eno’s cymbal, interacting with fans and otherwise directing traffic in engaging (but never pretentious) fashion.
Keyboardist-guitarist Alex Fischel, bassist Benny Trokan and guitarist-keyboardist Gerardo Larios filled the venerable theater with a wondrous wall of sound; Fischel, in particular, showed off his rambunctious, multi-instrumental wizardry at various junctures during a 90-minute set adorned by smart, ever-shifting lighting.
STRIKING SONGS AND A ROBUST ENCORE
The songs, of course, took center stage, from the piano-propelled “My Mathematical Mind” that evolved into striking special effects to the thunderous “Hardest Cut” to the staccato brilliance of “I Turn My Camera On.”
And the lilting balladry of “My Babe” built to a psychedelic crescendo, morphing into a full-blown anthem.
All of it literally had the entirety of the near-capacity State Theatre crowd on its feet all night long.
The aforementioned ‘most memorable shows’ thing even extended to the impressive opening act.
New York City’s Bodega exploded like a headbanging punk rock version of The B-52’s … if The B-52’s had fallen into a vat of Devo. Gloriously fun stuff, and I wouldn’t hesitate to go see this wildly entertaining five-piece again if they were headliners somewhere along the way.
Bodega even joined Spoon on stage for a cover of Wire’s “Mannequin” to close out the main set, creating a 10-piece version of Spoon (or maybe, a 10-piece version of Bodega) that came across as an upbeat, smile-inducing, camaraderie-infused romp.
The follow-up to that? Spoon’s five-song encore had everything a Spoon encore should have – fan-pleasing favorites such as “The Way We Get By” and “Don’t Make Me a Target” and a raucous, fist-pumping closer in “Rent I Pay.”
It started with 2005’s ever-charming “The Beast and Dragon, Adored,” which contains the line: “When you believe, they call it rock ‘n’ roll.”
After witnessing one of the best rock shows on the planet, yes, I still believe.
PHOTO GALLERY: Spoon, Bodega at Kalamazoo State Theatre
Photos by Derek Ketchum
Copyright 2022, Spins on Music LLC