Review: Spoon & Margaret Glaspy Dish Out a Thrilling Evening at Riviera Theatre

It’s a little hard to believe, but we’re well into two decades, nearly approaching the third, of Spoon. The band first came together in 1993 and released their first tracks the following year. It wouldn’t be till the 2000s when my young mind would be blown by Spoon’s perfect rock tunes. They are one of those early bands in my music listening history that opened my ears to something beyond what I was accustomed to and led me down the path of indie rock and beyond. Having seen Spoon a few times now, this evening felt just a little more special. Maybe because they’re my favorite band playing at the venue where I saw my first show but after this fantastic 21-song set, preceded by a fantastic performance from Margaret Glaspy, I can safely say this show ranks incredibly high as a personal favorite.

Margaret Glaspy opened up the night with a killer set. Joined by Chris Morrissey on bass and Tim Cool on drums, Glaspy’s stage presence has grown considerably since I last saw her perform. Right from the start she exuded a confidence that was undeniable. Glaspy’s emotive voice fits perfectly for loving tracks like “Emotions and Math” and ” Stay With Me” (where she reassures Chicago “I just can’t make sense of being on the fence about you, not you”) but is versatile enough to get all range of the more forceful songs like “Situation” and “Vicious.”

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Glaspy tore through her guitar with passion, giving us an incredible solo in the middle of her set (possibly during “Memory Street”) that left me in awe. It was the kind of moment I didn’t think would be beat, but as she ended her set it became obvious the final song would do it. She performed “My Body My Choice”, a new track full of steadfast declarations about women’s autonomy that really connected with the crowd. Lines like “I make all my money by raising my voice, it’s my body it’s my choice” got a loud reaction, agreeing wholeheartedly with Glaspy’s unbridled passion.

When it came time for Spoon, the crowd was more than ready. Britt Daniel and Jim Eno, the band’s heart, soul, and founders, emerged with Alex Fischel, Gerardo Larios, and Ben Trokan. The five piece wasted no time and kicked off their set with a cover of Smog’s “Held”. There was no warmup song or feeling out of the crowd, Spoon was on fire from the get-go. “The Devil & Mister Jones” off of Lucifer on the Couch followed, immediately getting the already grooving crowd into a melodious fit with Trokan jamming out with the best of them.

Britt Daniel of Spoon – Photo by Julian Ramirez

It would have been easy to just make the setlist dominated by their newest album Lucifer on the Couch, but that is certainly not what Spoon decided to do. The setlist instead spanned their catalog with seven of their ten full length albums represented. “Don’t You Evah”, a song that nearly every friend of mine loves regardless of their preferred music genre, came early in the set. The George W. Bush takedown “Don’t Make Me a Target” shook the crowd with Daniel’s voice blaring it’s raspy snarls and Eno’s drumming meting it with it’s intense symbol crashes. they followed that with “My Mathematical Mind” which once again seeing Daniel practically yelling at the crowd “I wanna change your mind” at its start.

About half way through the set, Daniel mentioned that his voice felt a little rough that night. It makes sense considering the band’s rougher tracks and the band’s unrelenting performance that had been taking his voice to its limits. While it didn’t affect the rest of this evening’s show, it would unfortunately postpone the Minneapolis show.

Jim Eno of Spoon – Photo by Julian Ramirez

Despite that warning the show went on and on, much to the glee of me and the rest of the audience. Second half of the set was dominated by hit after hit. “I Summon You” and “I Turn My Camera On” shone bright, “The Beast and the Dragon, Adored” rattled off with its epic feeling, and the repeating notes of “Small Stakes” opening sent the crowd into a tizzy. But it was “Inside Out” that felt the most special. Daniel’s voice stretching itself against with raspy yelps but relaxing a bit with tender sighs of “Yeah, there’s intense gravity in you, I’m just your satellite”. As the song began to reach it’s hazy culmination, Daniel looked off to the side of the crowd where audience members were dancing and twirling its intense beatific soundscapes. He cracked a knowing smile as we just let ourselves go.

The show would be far from over after “Got Nuffin”, the 15th song of the night. Spoon would return for a pair of encores that each felt like mini show detailing the band’s history. “Black Like Me”, ” The Fitted Shirt” (a personal favorite), and “Wild” had the crowd continuing to jam out but it was the final encore that really left the crowd with dazed with excitement. Lucifer on the Couch‘s title track gently led the way into what are arguably two of Spoon’s biggest tracks. “The Way We Get By” off of Kill the Moonlight, a song that feels like a coming of age movie perfectly distilled into jangly rock song, and “Rent I Pay”, the raucous and gravelly single from They Want My Soul. That final song is Spoon near the peak of their most intense and they delivered on it live. Everyone was pounding at their instrument like it was asking for a beating, resulting in one damn fine closer.

If you ever get the chance to see Spoon live, do yourself the favor and go. It’s a thrilling and exhilarating experience where every song hits its mark.

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All photos by Julian Ramirez

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Julian Ramirez