Spoon at Malkin Bowl 9/2/17
Melodic, Austin-based indie rock band Spoon poured out a clean and rounded set at Vancouver’s Malkin Bowl. Supporting their new effort Hot Thoughts, Spoon delivered a quality set to a perhaps overly polite Vancouver audience. With a long and steady career spanning back to the late ‘90s, the many evolutions of Spoon have produced a fanbase made up of different generations of indie rock fans; Spoon has certainly paid its dues. In the range from their earlier indie rock days to the more experimental Transgressions, Spoon has placed a focus on melodies over a steady, danceable drum beat; Spoon has gradually expanded their sonic palette with the wisdom and professional grace of many years on the road. The band’s new record Hot Thoughts evolves the sleek, produced centre-field indie rock of 2010’s They Want My Soul; Spoon has been serving out festival-friendly rock for the better part of a decade, to the gentle pleasure of their fans.
Frontman Brit Daniels appeared sincere in his conversations with the crowd; the natural beauty of the Malkin Bowl in Stanley Park is of phenomenal note, especially during a September sunset, but the Vancouver crowd’s reception of the group felt overly polite and restrained. Although the band performed with professional enthusiasm and a well-practiced execution of their capable material, the evening was somewhat lacking in reciprocated intimacy between the audience and artists. “I Ain’t the One” featured one of the band’s most intimate moments with sweet vocal melody that sounds reminiscent of ‘60s vocal pop like the Zombies. Fan-favourite “My Mathematical Mind” slightly juxtaposed the band’s newer material with the group’s piano based material. Newer songs like “Can I Sit Next to You?” sounded rich and gorgeous in their tone but turn from approaching any substantial dance or rock level. Spoon appears comfortable within the realm of moderate speed rock dance music. Although Spoon’s clean, sensual vocals are well executed, the group’s largely centre field brand of indie rock does provide some limitations.
Though comforting and satisfying within their safe spectrum under a particularly gorgeous and gentle moon, Spoon performed a set that was strong but not magical. Under the twinkling late summer stars of Stanley Park, the band delivered a decent set but the atmosphere lacked a particular chemistry, due to no fault of the band’s performance.
Closing out the set with “I Pay Rent,” the band wrapped up the evening with one of the more gritty numbers of the night. After satisfying their hungry audience, Spoon waved a friendly goodnight. After many years and albums, Spoon remain in good taste.