Review: Spoon At The Egyptian Room

The group was in town to play WTTS’s annual Rock To Read benefit show.

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Spoon played the annual Rock To Read benefit show hosted by WTTS

Troy Carpenter

If anyone in Indianapolis was missing a 40-ish guy in black rimmed glasses on Friday night, we were all over at the Egyptian Room for the Spoon concert, sorry about that.

There were a lot of us too, for the groovy, stylish Austin alt-icons’ first Indianapolis appearance in well more than a minute. At this point, it probably goes without saying that the Spoon concert/album/cover/anything was worth the wait (and the temperatures); nine albums into a career that’s settled into some wild kind of magical consistency, Spoon is consistent without ever being forgettable, inventive without ever lapsing into silly. Aside from a brief hiatus a few years back for side projects, production, and sleeping in, there’s not really been any kind of appreciable break, nor has there been any discernible sense of overstaying a welcome. They’re such a solid bet that you almost take them for granted.

Learning that Hot Thoughts is Spoon’s ninth album is sort of like learning one of your friend’s kids is like 10 years older than you thought. It makes sense, and the “numbers” technically “work out,” but it still seems like some practical impossibility, although that’s probably due to how old the math makes you feel, um, hypothetically. Happily, the loose, funky taste of new songs “Do I Have to Talk You Into It,” “Can I Sit Next to You,” and the rubbery title track (which conjured up something approximating an middle-aged alternative-crowd dance party) are all bouncy and welcome patches to the band’s long-practiced form of minimalist alt-funk, and Friday’s set leaned into them hard, with the band laying down long stretches of groove for Britt Daniel to slice his guitar through.

This was a remarkably upbeat set — particularly and not surprisingly on NPR-approved bangers like “Don’t You Evah,” “I Turn My Camera On,” and “Do You.” A drawn-out “I Ain’t the One” from the new record started life as calm, droning keyboard riff before exploding into some ferocious electro-weirdness (if the timing worked out, I suspect they might have detected the bass over at the Nick Offerman show). But the finest moment of the night may have been Daniel stepping out alone for a solo encore take on “I Summon You,” a song he introduced by saying he knew when he wrote it that he’d be playing it for a long time. I’m sure he’s right, but I wonder if he had any just how long.

Spoon at the Egyptian Room, Dec. 9, 2017

“Do I Have to Talk You Into It”
“Inside Out”
“I Turn My Camera On”
“The Beast and Dragon, Adored”
“Don’t You Evah”
“Do You”
“Via Kannela”
“I Ain’t the One”
“Anything You Want”
“Can I Sit Next To You”
“My Mathematical Mind”
“Don’t Make Me a Target”
“The Underdog”
“Got Nuffin”
“Rent I Pay”

“I Summon You”
“Pink Up”
“The Fitted Shirt”
“Hot Thoughts”

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