I’m a slacker when it comes to Texas alt-rock band Spoon, having jumped on the veteran outfit’s bandwagon only a decade late. And to be honest, I was only on the edge of that bandwagon until just a few weeks ago. Sure, I enjoyed the band’s fifth and sixth albums “Gimme Fiction” and “GaGaGaGaGa,” but I wasn’t truly hooked until I got my hands on the new “Transference” disc, which hit stores in January.
It showcases a grittier turn in band leader Britt Daniel’s songwriting that gradually drew me in until I became totally obsessed. Lately, I’ve related most to “Before Destruction,” the world-weary track the quartet – also bassist Rob Pope, keyboard player Eric Harvey and drummer Jim Eno – kicked off with Friday night at Seattle’s Moore Theatre, followed by another album standout, the jammy “I Saw the Light.”
Spoon had the crowd pretty riled up by song No. 3, 2007’s anthemic “The Underdog” (well, except for a guy who appeared to have fallen asleep a few rows back, only to be awakened later in the show by none other than Daniel himself.) And Spoon never let up with an hour and a half that showcased 14 years of cult classics, from the creamy groove of “Don’t You Evah” to pre-encore set closer “Trouble Come Running.”
But as tight and invigorating as Spoon’s set was, openers Deerhunter and Micachu & the Shapes got the evening off to a pretty bizarre start. And I’m going to go out on a limb and guess that former were – what’s the term I’m looking for? – “baked out of their skulls.”
“I don’t understand anything right now,” declared giggly band leader Bradford Cox, who later went on a tangent about growing up in the boonies with flickering sheep, only to be confused by the delay on his microphone.
The set’s most entertainingly goofball moments from Deerhunters’ set starred a woman who pranced down the aisle, hamming it up with quirky disco poses before joining the Georgia psych-rockers onstage. Maraca shaking, water spitting and simulated lewd acts ensued. I can’t immediately recall a band having so much fun while apparently oblivious to the fact they were playing for 1,500 people.
Later, the set wound down with a sprawling, psychedelic cover of the Stooges’ “I Wanna Be Your Dog,” which doubled as a Kurt Cobain tribute. Cox, noting the 16th anniversary of Cobain being found dead in his Seattle greenhouse, went on a disjointed, mid-song rant that recalled wishing, as a kid, that Cobain would come down from heaven with his “flaming guitar” and save him from apparent sexual abuse.
“I never thought I’d be 27,” he declared several times.
Later, Cox would sneak the riff from “Smells Like Teen Spirit” into his cameo during Spoon’s set. “Do it!” shouted one fan, but instead Spoon and co’ delivered dreamy pop number “Who Makes Your Money?”
British trio Micachu & the Shapes kicked things off with a bizarre, snake-bitten set of abstract pop songs that drove several of my peers from the theater. To be fair, the trio had it’s moments, but a relentless buzzing plagued the trio’s entire set, with band leader Mica Levy letting her frustration be known as she introduced a song she said she’d written about being in a gang. “It’s quite quiet, so enjoy the buzz,” she quipped.
The band actually doesn’t sound that bad, though, if you check ‘em out here.