Spoon & John Vanderslice @ Little Radio, 7/16/07
I’m not sure how long it would take to bake 300 people in a warehouse, but Monday night at Little Radio, I think we were about to find out. The temperature of the room during Spoon’s “secret” show seemed to climb exponentially with each passing minute, but the communal misery didn’t put too much of a damper on the night — even as the place got more and more humid.
The stifling conditions prompted frontman Britt Daniel to thank the crowd near the end of their set for sticking around, calling it “unpleasant in here.” And even so, Spoon put everything into their performance, attacking frenzied, powerful riffs — with sweat pouring down — stomping the ground, shouting. At one point, Daniel even put more on when he should’ve been peeling things off — a fan who had been wearing a gold mask handed it to him, and he wore it for half a song.
Unfortunately, the heat was probably the reason for a scaled-back show. (Little Radio had listed the show as going until 1 a.m., and it ended before 12:30. Still, that’s an hour and a half set, and Spoon made the most of it.) The set list was littered with songs that didn’t get played: Mostly older tunes were cut, including “Mountain to Sound,” “The Fitted Shirt” and, most disappointing, the 1.5-minute postpunk gem “Car Radio.” However, one of the big crowd-pleasers was “Quincy Punk Episode” from five albums ago.
Songs from the new album, “Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga” (machine-gun it: ga-g-g-g-ga!), were enough to stir the dancers down front but not enough to stop the chatter in the back. A VIP area strangely had a giant fan pointed at it to keep it cool, whereas drummer Jim Eno had zilch. The real heroes of the night were (a) whoever passed a cup of ice cubes around the audience and (b) the over-21 guy at the front of the line outside who produced from his car a printout proving that Amoeba — which gave tickets to the first 150 people to buy “Ga” last week — had erroneously stated 18+ on its website. A lot of almost-turned-away under-21 Spoon fans owed that guy a frosty beverage.
John Vanderslice opened the show, doing a mix of new and old songs. Several people were singing along to most of them, even the ones from the upcoming “Emerald City.” Vanderslice invited several front-row fans to get onstage to provide hand claps, but sadly, there was no Green Shirt-esque dancing, only arm-length photo taking. But the hand clap posse still made the whole, steamy night a lot more fun.
Spoon will play another secret show in Los Angeles tonight at Cinespace, along with the Watson Twins (who covered Spoon’s “I Summon You” at KCRW last month). According to a flyer of unknown origins, early arrival is strongly suggested; firstname.lastname@example.org