Home / Concert Reviews / Spoon @ Harley-Davidson Roadhouse, Summerfest
Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Spoon @ Harley-Davidson Roadhouse, Summerfest

June 29, 2009

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Spoon must be one of indie-rock's most uneven live bands. That's a compliment, in a way. Unlike artists who can tour with a miniature orchestra and play two hours of elaborate suites without striking so much as one imperfect note, Spoon plays their rock 'n' roll loose and sloppy, sometimes for better, sometimes for worse. Even during their messiest moments, though, it's hard not to admire their audacity. If they didn't fall on their face occasionally, they wouldn't be challenging themselves.

Since their concerts are bereft of the fidgety production and studio effects that bind some of their scrappier songs together, Monday's set worked best when the band stuck to their beefier, most rhythmic material. Most of the R&B-spiked jaunts from Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga shined, as did the band's new single, "Got Nuffin," which benefited from a riff lifted from The Knack's "My Sharona," but another new track, which saw the four-piece band toy with a bold three-guitar arrangement, was so tuneless it seemed as if it were being rehearsed for the first time. And save for their four-on-the-floor Emotional Rescue homage "I Turn My Camera On"-which killed because, well, how could it not?-material from 2005's stellar Gimme Fiction tended to crumble into pieces, with the band's stabbing piano and staccato guitar fighting each other instead of partnering.

When Spoon last rolled through Milwaukee, they played a searing, double-encore show at the Pabst Theater, but this time around they were a little distant. Frontman Britt Daniel barely said anything to the crowd, unless you count his mid-song "a'wight!" and "c'mon!" yelps, and there were even less of those than usual. Maybe it was best he kept his mouth shut. In one of his few exchanges of the evening, he asked how much of the audience had driven up from Chicago, which is a little bit like asking a blind date if she has a sister.

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Photos by CJ Foeckler

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