Spoon rattle Observatory OC alongside the dreamy Joy Downer

Spoon at the Observatory OC by Steven Ward
Spoon at the Observatory OC by Steven Ward

Spoon brought their endlessly kinetic and genre-shifting rock anthems to the Observatory OC last night. The show comes just days before the release of the band’s deeply anticipated and monumental tenth album Lucifer on the Sofa, so of course, the album’s hot singles “The Hardest Cut” and “Wild” got some stage-time. But the night’s setlist drew from across Spoon’s sublime discography. Mad-cap as ever and led by the sweltering yowls of frontman Britt Daniel, the innards of the Observatory became a jostling dynamo of sweaty energy as Spoon tore into favorites like “Do You” and “The Underdog.”

Father John Misty Sound Stage
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Feeding into the hand-off of passion exchanged between performer and audience, Spoon gave a rabidly long set that included a generous five-song encore. Which had such treats as a cover of John Lennon’s “Isolation,” along with two oldies but goodies in the form of “The Way We Get By” and “Rent I Pay.”

Joy Downer at the Observatory OC by Steven Ward
Joy Downer at the Observatory OC by Steven Ward

Joy Downer opened the night for Spoon, playing songs from her illustrious debut album Paper Moon as well as a new one for the crowd at the Observatory. Blue-haired under the lights and sequin-bedazzled Joy radiated her namesake. Sharing the stage with Joy was her husband and bandmate, Jeff Downer fretting away on guitar with style and ease. With a croon as piercing as it is dreamy, there’s a transfixing quality to Joy Downer‘s music that’s only intensified in its oscillating synth-rhythms and hypnotic hooks. Whether it was the droning revolutions on “Getaway Car” or the heady bass of Joy’s deliciously satirical “Plastic Wrap,” the duo were happy to remind the crowd of Plastic Wrap’s potent hits. But the night was not without some surprises either. Joy brought out local badass Lauren Brown – the world’s only tap-dancing drummer and formerly one-part of Los Angeles’ Kolars – to perform their song “Over & Out.”

Words / Photos by Steven Ward

Joy Downer at the Observatory OC by Steven Ward
Joy Downer at the Observatory OC by Steven Ward