Friday, April 2, 2010

"I Just Want it to Sound Good for You" Spoon-Aragon Theatre, Chicago, 4.1.10

Arriving in the nick of time, speaker music blares overhead the seemingly packed house of the mix of fraternity and hipster crowd of all ages. Lights turn off and the crowd turn around half-heartedly still conversing until Brit Daniel arrives on stage alone with his acoustic guitar. He greets the crowd and begins singing the classic, “Me and the Bean” setting the tone for the evening's set; ultimately fiercely strumming similarly to a mariachi guitarist. Stage lights shine and Eric Harvey joins Daniel supporting his intimate rendition of “Mystery Zone” on keyboards. The remainder of the band arrive, drowned in red and the bang on the piano keys raise the tempo while Daniel's scratchy voice reverberates throughout the theatre. Jim Eno begins pounding on the drums and Britt ditches his jacket, quickly revving his guitar prompting annoying drunken hipsters to cleverly invent peculiar dances. The Austin quintet have mastered this musical form of retaining this chaotic quality while orchestrating these harmonious melodies, playing these complex riffs in a simplified manner. The spotlight returns to Harvey, with a ghostly echoing effect Daniel quickly spills out the lyrically vivid lines of “My Mathematical Mind”. Hunched over his guitar, at times kneeling down with the distortions of his guitar ringing out slowly submerging the crowd into this musical sea of nostalgic excitement and introspective beauty.

Totally immersed in their craft, the evening's setlist thus far reads like a greatest his album. Daniel and co. play as though they've orchestrated this concerto of masterful play; brilliantly transitioning the tempo and gracefully creating this cinematic ambience in their synchronization and focused play exhibiting this awesomeness on stage. With the alteration of color of lights, the set's mood mellows down. An alarming sound blares overhead, before the familiar notes of “Small Stakes” come from Harvey's keys. Listening to this song, I can't help think of the last time I saw Spoon live; it was eight years ago at the Abbey, an unforgettable evening. Since then, much finesse and maturity are apparent in the band's stage presence and eloquent play. I have come to expect faulty sound in the Aragon, but did not realize how troublesome it is for the artists, Britt has now noted again his annoyance. He announces the next a song by Wolf Parade, an endearing cover of “Modern World” played with a delicate Southwestern flair.
A meticulous production, Daniel narrates his intricate tales, full-bodied sound with a seamless quality transitioning the performance's tempo, unraveling in guitar play chaotically complimenting Daniel's composed delivery. The crowd begins dancing and moving along with the opening notes, “Don't You Evah”. He returns to his acoustic guitar, commenting once more of his inability to hear what they're playing; causing a sound person to confirm his inability. Fiercely strumming before Eno's drums kick in, Daniel serenades the audience; an array of instrumentation surround his unaffected raspy voice. A soft passionate exhalation of works packed with a toe-tapping rhythm. An explosive sound with an ear shattering drumroll, the jovial melody plays on ceasing with a chaotic spill of notes in the air, maracas continuing to rattle until, “Black Like Me” ultimately commences. A passionate recounting of experiences is what finishes this wonderful collection of the Austin quintet's catalogue of songs. Brit bows and exits the stage. Quickly returning, Daniel expresses gratefulness for the crowd's presence noting this their largest crowd in Chicago and modestly admitting a desire to sound good. The encore is filled with many Spoon classic tracks, crowd swaying back and forth; the music comes to an abrupt halt before Daniel revs his guitar back up as the spotlights flash throughout the crowd. He plays with intensity as the band waves good evening leaving the audience with the shuddering sound of distortion in the air.

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