Monday, June 29, 2009
Tonight @ Harley-Davidson Roadhouse, Summerfest, 10 p.m.
Like an empty cardboard box in the hands of an imaginative child, a simple rhythm opens up a world of possibilities for Spoon. Over a herky-jerk pulse that changes remarkably little from song to song (or album to album), the indie-rock foursome can evoke just about any genre it wants through just the slightest shifts. Add a punchy groove and you have the brittle funk of “I Turn My Camera On.” Play up the piano and you get the cocky swagger of “The Way We Get By.” Swap the piano for an electric guitar and you get a power-pop charmer like “Fitted Shirt.” Murk up the mix and you get a moodier rocker like “My Little Japanese Cigarette Case.” They play loose and sloppy, making it look effortless even though it takes sweat aplenty to keep their shows from descending into tuneless clatter. Part of the thrill of a Spoon show is seeing whether they can pull it all off, since sometimes they don’t.