Wednesday, November 2nd, 2005
The Beast And Dragon, Adored
It’s always interesting to see a band twice in a short span of time, especially when they’re touring the same album. Case in point, Spoon, who had been through town just five months ago in support of Gimme Fiction. Last time through they put on a good show, though it took them a little while to find their groove. I don’t remember how early on in the touring schedule that show was, but I was curious to see what effect the intervening months of constant performances had had on the band and their sound.
I don’t know if it was the world touring or just the last couple days of travel that did it, but last night something was definitely different with the band. Thanks to the Vegoose festival, Spoon had a most roundabout itinerary, playing Detroit on Saturday, Las Vegas on Sunday and then arriving in the Big Smoke on Monday night for last night’s Toronto show. Now I try to avoid London, Ontario as much as the next guy but routing your tour through Nevada to do so is proabably a little excessive… either way, apparently Spoon was quite well-rested for last night’s gig, and the rest must have done them good because they played the best show I’ve ever seen them put on. I’ve only seen them three times, sure, but it was still the best of those, hands down.
The set list didn’t seem too different from what they played in June, maybe a little heavier on the catalog material, but the execution was excellent. They found their edge from the get-go and didn’t let up – I found a certain raggedness and maniacism in their performance that I didn’t see last time, and it definitely suits them. The extra energy on display really engaged the crowd as well, which was a pretty good size considering the band has been through town not long ago at all. The cozier stage of the Phoenix over the Opera House probably helped as well, and it was good to see that the bassist, at least, had taken my advice from last time and was moving around the stage quite a bit, offering some dancing support to Britt Daniel and his happy feet. But whatever the reason, I will have to amend my one-line synopsis on Spoon live from “they put on a good show” to “they usually put on a good show, but sometimes they put on a GREAT show”. QED.
Support for this tour was Mary Timony, a bit of an odd choice. I’d not heard any of her solo stuff, but did have a couple of Helium records back in the day. I didn’t really get on with them, but I had ’em. Anyway, I wasn’t going to let the fact that she was playing this date and not American Music Club sour me on her set prematurely, but I am still a little grumpy that AMC are joining the tour in just a few days. Anyway. The Mary Timony band, as she called them, was actually just Mary and a drummer – sort of a reverse-gender White Stripes configuration though more informed by prog than the blues. Though both Mary and drummer boy could play quite well, they weren’t exactly lockstep – sloppiness was evident at more than a few points. Luckily for them, it actually sort of added to the performance rather than detract. Both of them seemed to be having such a good time that it seemed kind of unsporting to call them on falling out of time with one another here and there, and it did slowly come together in time for set closer “9×3” which featured a terrific bit of back and forth jamming. Mary was particularly animated on stage, coming oh so close to a windmill or scissor kick, but never quite following through. If she had, that would have made the set.
And yes, there are photos. No you can’t see them now. Come back tomorrow. Update: Okay, we got photo action happening now.
Being There offers an dummy’s guide to the world of Guided By Voices. GuidedByRobertPollard.com is a fansite that endeavours to do the same. RobertPollard.net is the new home on the web for all things Bob, including news of the release of Suitcase 2 this week and the release of his first proper post-GBV solo album From A Compound Eye on January 24 of next year, courtesy of the good people at Merge.
Alas, poor Splendid. You will be missed.
The AP (via The Globe & Mail) gets a sneak preview as to what we can expect from this Sunday’s live live live debate episode of The West Wing. Sounds awesome – I am hoping that mid-episode both candidates bring out surprise new running mates. Rick Schroder for Jimmy Smits and Mike Farrell for Alan Alda. That would rule. I would vote for the M*A*S*H* ticket, GOP or not.
np – Catlow / Kiss The World