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EMO'S

spoon

lazy cowgirls and sea of a thousand

The Electric Six
Emo’s. Thurs. Oct. 23, 2003

When I heard this band for the first time I was amused. They had me hooked with their metal-disco sound, their lyrics about Dance Commanders, Gay Bars, and riots in Taco Bells.

The music backed the silly stuff and I was genuinely interested in catching this show.
Live, the Electric Six fell into a schticked rock band’s generality. The songs were not as tan as the studio versions leaving the sound so, well, real. The other songs they played just proved how walled-in these guys had made themselves.

The four or so songs off of “Fire” that have provocative, funny vocals were eagerly awaited by the fans who had got drunk to listen to the party songs that made them all laugh the first time. But like crack, you can’t really get back to that first bleem. In between what I surmised as a strategically written set list to defend against the entire crowd leaving after the album standouts were through were some slabs of rock recall. There was the pop metal crunch of Quiet Riot’s rock song structure riding atop the bass groove of “Shattered” by the Stones. All the while a straight outta the 80’s keyboard accompaniment subtly pushed the Human League envelope. That might be the best way to put it. The Electric 6 also made me think of Queens of the Stone Age and the access they granted to the untrained ear in the last two years. (I’m talking about that spoonful of sugar that makes the metal sound go down.) Without the populus having a context to put the Electric Six in, they might have come off as successful twisters of genre. Ween also has played a role because without them you’d have to be into Zappa to appreciate the humor in the lyrics. Flying out in musical references in a good way were Adam and the Ants wild frontier git sounds and a song which made me think of Joe Jackson’s “Look Sharp” album.

They played a self-proclaimed power ballad that the singer stated the record people made them do. It was like a Dead Boys song gone, once again, a little crunchy for access’ sake. Sadly I thought, who gets into a position like this anyway? This thought was the most interesting part of the evening. I watched as the singer deprecatingly commented on playing the “dance material” soon. It was apparent that these guys had seen a similar reaction when the new stuff didn’t deliver and the rowdy crowd needed the choice cuts. I felt that strange novelty-act vibe when the crowd thinned on them as the set progressed. The collective attention span needed more than real musicians playing tunes, that, after all, is so pre-9/11. A ticker tape across the bottom of the screen with a countdown to the funny party songs could have helped. The singer mockingly waved at the crowd as if to say “hi, you pre-fed jackasses.” He was feeling it, that’s all, the void. Adding insult to injury was the pit that erupted during the song “Dance Commander”; one of the stand-outs I mentioned. All they needed was mud and a rape and we all would have felt in place. They had the fire already, “fire in the disco”… -Kevin Stack

Spoon, Richard Buckner w/ AA Nightmare, Fire Marshals of Bethlehem
Emo’s, Sat., Oct. 25, 2003

After a pleasant set by Austin all-star band the Fire Marshals of Bethlehem, Richard Buckner and his own collection of local luminaries set down on stage, took every pre-conceived notion of what the set would be like, threw them out the window and proceeded to reconstruct the career of a man once compared unfavorably to the late Elliot Smith. Jacob Schultze (organ), Andrew DuPlantis (bass), Jason Morales (guitar) and King Coffey (drums, natch) all provided a backdrop of noise, accompanying Buckner’s elevation from lonely songster to Psycheldelic Cowboy God. A solid set of gravity-defying atmospherics driving his tales of woe and alienation made for a more than mind-blowing set.

Next came the battle cry of the Tick, Spoon. Still riding high on the success of their latest release, Kill the Moonlight, Britt Daniel and co. put on a very professional and highly entertaining set. Relying mostly on material from Moonlight and the previous disc, Girls Can Tell, Daniel herked and jerked his way all over the stage like an electrocuted epileptic while drummer Jim Eno and the bassist and keyboardist kept the backdrop quirky, catchy and just a touch haunting. The live rendition of Spoon’s most popular “hit”, The Way We Get By (performed on both Conan O’Brien and Carson Daly) came off even more paranoid and stark than the recorded take and Jonathon Fisk truly smoked, but the whole set was spot on, no lowlights rearing their ugly heads. As for street credibility, does a cover of the Stooges’ Loose qualify?

Once little more than an approaching-generic indie rock band, Spoon have grown up, truly finding their own unique sound and quite possibly a niche of sorts. Time will tell.
-Trevor Wallace

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