Vancouver was spoiled for shows last night. Charlotte Gainsbourg kicked off her (debut?) North American tour at the Vogue, Beach House was at the Rickshaw and Passion Pit were at the Commodore. Meanwhile at the Orpheum, Micachu and the Shapes, Deerhunter and Spoon formed an impressive triple bill. I missed Micachu but I am a massive fan of both Spoon and Deerhunter so last night was pretty damn great. First up, the headliners Spoon.
I last caught Spoon at the 2008 Big Day Out in Sydney but it had been nearly five years since I last saw them headline their own show in which time the band have put out another couple albums. Add this to the previous three near flawless records and Spoon have amassed one of the most intimidatingly impressive back catalogues of any currently active band. This meant that every time Spoon started a song last night, a exclaimed “YES!” to myself. I mean just look at the setlist below.
The show actually started off a little slow with two of my least favourite songs from this year’s Transference, Before Destruction and Nobody Gets Me But You. Not that they’re bad songs mind you, just not up to the level of most of Spoon’s other material. But once the piano chords from The Way We Get By filled the Orpheum the show never looked back. Every song played was followed by another song I really wanted to hear and you can’t ask for more from a concert than that.
The best part is that Spoon fill their sets with album tracks you might expect them to have left behind by now and some of these songs were my favourite moments last night. Someone Something from Kill The Moonlight for example. But perhaps the best was a pair of songs from Girls Can Tell: Everything Hits At Once and Anything You Want, the latter of which Britt Daniel said had not been played in a very long time.
Even the moody and somewhat tuneless The Ghost Of You Lingers comes across amazing live. While Spoon typically write fairly conventional songs, songs like The Ghost Of You Lingers and Before Destruction illustrate that Spoon may actually be a really weird band who somehow manage to channel their inner pop song writer better than most.
I’ve always found Spoon to be a precise band: nothing is out of place and there is nothing unnecessary in their songs, be it an overdubbed guitar, superfluous backing vocals or a distracting melody. On stage they are more or less the same and I’m always impressed with Britt’s sharp guitar tones and Jim Eno’s stellar work on the drums. By the time the band played their closing trio of I Turn My Camera On, Don’t You Evah, and Jonathon Fisk I was completely enthalled with this band’s ability to simply never be anything less than damn near perfect.
Nobody Gets Me But You
The Way We Get By
You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb
The Ghost Of You Lingers
Rhthm & Soul
Everything Hits At Once
Is Love Forever?
Written In Reverse
Love Song (The Damned cover)
Anything You Want
Who Makes Your Money
The Beast And Dragon, Adored
I Summon You
Don’t Make Me A Target
I Saw The Light
I Turn My Camera On
Don’t You Evah
Deerhunter have been one of my favourite bands over the past few years. I caught them live a couple times in Sydney last year and loved every minute of both of their shows so I was as excited for Bradford and the boys as I was for Spoon. I was expecting a fairly short opening set but the band played for about 50 minutes and focused most of their set on their more strightforward song-based material so the set actually felt a lot longer. By the time the band left the stage they had a big crowd of people dancing in front of the stage (in a seated theatre, mind you) which is always a great sign for a support act. But then again, Deerhunter aren’t your typical support act.
First up, new songs! The band played four new songs last night which will hopefully see the light of day in the not too distant future (Bradford hinted their might be a new Deerhunter record soon during last night’s set), three of which you can see here on Pitchfork. The Lockett Pundt sung Fountain Stairs, Primitive 3-D and Revival are all concise songs in line with most of the material from Microcastle, albeit more aggressive and uptempo. The fourth new one, Helicopter, was a bit different. It featured a slow, heavy beat from drummer Moses Archuleta and is, according the the engimatic Bradford Cox, a story about a porn star dropped from a helicopter in the Black Forest. Or something to that effect. It was quite different from the other new ones and wouldn’t really fit on Deerhunter’s last record or Weird Era Cont. Anyway, all four new songs bode well for the next Deerhunter record.
The new material was accompanied by a couple of songs from Crytograms, including the title track as the set closer. It featured Spoon’s Britt Daniel on guitar and Eric Harvey on keyboards which was kinda cool…but the song itself was not nearly as fierce as I’ve seen it played in the past. Check a video of it here (pardon the sound, the iPhone has the worst mic I’ve ever heard). The rest of the set was a mix of songs from Microcastle, one from Weird Era, and a couple from the Rainwater Cassette Exchange EP. Vox Celeste, one of my favourite Deerhunter songs, was particularly awesome.
Special mention must also be made of Nothing Ever Happened. As the band played the song Bradford jumped down to play the song around the front row and he was quickly surrounded by dozens of dancing Deerhunter fans. The song, which is usually extended in its live incarnation, was then played for about ten minutes. It was nuts. By the time the band hit the song’s final movement there was a huge surge of euphoria and when the song ended I think Deerhunter had converted a lot of new fans in the crowd.
It was a great opening set and it left me wanting more. Hurry back, Deerhunter.
Fountain Stairs (new)
Primitive 3-D (new)
Disappearing Ink (with Spoon’s Rob Pope)
Nothing Ever Happened
Famous Last Words
Cover Me (Slowly)
Cryptograms (with Spoon’s Britt and Eric)
A few photos from the gig are here. And if any of you read this far and were at the Charlotte Gainsbourg show last night, how was it?