The dually historic and legendary Apogee Studios played host to KCRW’s intimate presentation of Texas’ indie rockers Spoon, offering a coveted look into the band’s upcoming release Hot Thoughts. Opening with two new songs, “Do I Have to Talk You Into It” and the eponymous “Hot Thoughts,” Britt Daniel revealed that for all the talk of evolution and change that accompanies any band with as many albums under their belt, everything that has made Spoon so delightfully iconic remains fitted in place. As suave and affecting as ever, Daniel and company marriage groove and rock in such sublime ways, breathing in the funky experimentalism of the likes of Beck, while never neglecting the importance of a delicious riff.
“Hot Thoughts” swerves in a lane all its own, jutting with darting guitars and a sweltering dreaminess, while Daniel curbs the weirdness with his dead-pan delivery and overbearing persona. Two other new pieces, “I Ain’t the One” and “Can I Sit Next to You,” continue the electronic-tinged purposefulness of They Want My Soul, relying on heady-beats and percussion to roll forward the shaggy-ornate carpet on which Daniel infuses groove with his signature inflection, cutting a verbal rug that makes even the most thinly dressed melodies danceable tunes. And there was plenty of dancing.
Packed into the small Apogee studio, a venue that only fits a little less than two-hundred people, the entire set was one miniature, personal concert. Explosive, wild, and full of wonderfully raucous energy, Daniel turned the floor into fiery hot plates with songs like “Do You” and “Rent I Pay,” his hoarse crooning and erratic guitar playing as infectious as their hooks. Spoon isn’t just fun to listen to, they’re insanely beguiling to watch as well–Daniel alone is so visibly consumed in the moment that he plays to a small crowd the same way he’d play to a festival mob of thousands.
Everything about Spoon’s set was furious, jumping from song to song in mad dash to the finish line, but not sacrificing an ounce of passion in the process. For their encore they unveiled the slow burning grooves of another new song, “First Caress,” before ending the night with the jittery rumblings of “Rainy Taxi.” Completely consumed by the jumpy percussion runs and layered guitar rhythmics, Daniel and company sent the crowd into the night feeling the incessant goosebumps of their charmingly buoyant tunes–carrying all the melancholy and hope they can shoulder with them.
Words: Steven Ward