Spoon played House of Blues – 4/6

Britt Daniel and company made a triumphant return to Boston’s House of Blues last week at a tour-opening gig with support from Margaret Glaspy.

If you were to construct a wall-sized chart of every song from Spoon’s 10-LP, nearly-30-year career and throw a dart, you’d hit a hit. The Austin band’s wiry art-rock has undergone its fair share of tweaks and twists over the years, but consistency has been key. Combine that fact with the quintet’s ear for groove and the swaggering charisma of singer/guitarist Daniel and it’s pretty much impossible to come away from a Spoon show disappointed – Wednesday night’s U.S. tour kickoff especially.

The band’s latest – February’s Lucifer on the Sofa – was one of many recent releases that marinated a bit longer than planned thanks to the pandemic, and there was clearly some coiled energy awaiting their first proper tour since it dropped. Lucifer isn’t my favorite recent Spoon record (I’m team Hot Thoughts Underrated), but its highlights shined on stage, including a slashing “Hardest Cut” and a set-opening run through their instant-classic cover of singer-songwriter-sage Bill Callahan’s “Held.”

Spoon have always had an undersung ear for covers – some excellent bootleg takes on Destroyer’s “It’s Gonna Take an Airplane” and Wolf Parade’s “Modern World” are floating out there in the ether, and side project Divine Fits’ version of The Boys Next Door’s “Shivers” is an all-timer – and we got treated to three on top of the LP-featured Smog tune. A spindly reworking of John Lennon’s “Isolation” led off the encore, which also featured a garage-punked Modern Lovers song (“She Cracked”) and The Cramps’ “TV Set” (featured on a Record Store Day 10″ some years back).

The rest of their own songs sounded great, too, dipping as far back as 2002’s Kill the Moonlight and hitting plenty of favorites along the way. Spoon don’t jam, exactly, but particularly groovy and sinuous Gimme Fiction cuts (“My Mathematical Mind,” I Turn My Camera On”) afforded founding drummer Jim Eno and newcomer bassist Ben Trokan some rhythmic space to play with. “The Underdog” – arguably their signature song at this point – still radiated a scruffy charm. We also got two of my favorite acoustic-ish gems (“I Summon You” and “Black Like Me”) deep in the set, before “Jonathan Fisk” closed things out with a bang (and did actually kind of open up a pit I wasn’t just tweeting that for the bit).

I’m not typically the biggest fan of Boston’s House of Blues, but after seeing my last two Spoon shows at the even-more-corporate pavilion in the Seaport, these more intimate confines were a welcome change of scenery for a vital evening with a longtime favorite band.

Opening duties for the night were handled by Margaret Glaspy and her two-piece band, whose sharp songs and onstage charm rendered a lovely leadoff set.

Scroll below for photos from the whole night.