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I fear my eyes deceive me, as the members of Spoon seem quite miniscule bathed in the backdrop of red light surrounding them tonight. I attribute this to lack of sleep and my somewhat erratic lifestyle and not the unlikely possibility that I may be in my own version of Gulliver's Travels. Nevertheless my premiere encounter with them is surreally inviting.
With a bowl-full of juicy fruit quirky melodies and irresistible mood-invigorating rhythms, these Texan natives have a lot to offer in terms of a good ol' slice of Americana. Singer Britt Daniel is able to leave many gleeful with his frail but ardent high voice, and songs get enhanced with the odd prevalent pounding from Jim Eno - who conjures up a vibe that wouldn't be out of place at a ceremonial drumming in the jungle. With a mixture of wild riffs and staccato strumming, I'm pretty much sold on these lot.
There seems to be a switch in perspective by the time Interpol are on stage. With a multitude of people flooding into the venue, I suddenly become quite pint-sized in comparison to how big our dark New Yorkers have become. Yes, we can safely say that Paul, Carlos D, Dan and Sam have deservedly, well and truly hit the big time.
As they slide on suited up with ties, gun holsters and suchlike, the gig starts promisingly as they launch into 'Next Exit'. Accompanied with succumbing church organs and a rattling tempo, its sombre tone leaves a haunting chill in the air.
This is quickly diffused as they dive straight into 'Slow Hands', pulling people into its infectious pulsing dance grove, as I witness a sea of heads bopping to Dan's fast paced guitar strums. And Paul's lulling hum on 'Hands Away' wells up with such emotion that you can almost taste the salt in a teardrop.
But as soon as someone boisterously croaks, "Take You On A Cruise!", it seems as if an intense pressure to appease the grumbling hecklers request has caused them to falter slightly. Noted for being one of the most distinctive numbers on Antics, it doesn't quite have the same resonance tonight. It just seems rather stilted as they decide on a lengthy pause when Paul sighs, "baby it will be alright." Perhaps this is to build up its potency, but by the time they continue, the magic is lost with offbeat timing.
However they redeem themselves with 'PDA', as both Carlos D and Dan get contrapuntal with their chords and bass lines. And as always 'Obstacle 1' stays true to its enrapturing genius. Much of this is owed to Paul's strong baritone voice complimented with Sam's stylish dramatics on the kick drum, which is heightened by his overbearing large dark shadow on the walls. It's also good to see them wheel out the very sinister 'Roland' - I've always admired the vehement, tumultuous, chaotic rants about a butcher friend "who has sixteen knives".
Frankly, this isn't one Interpol's best gigs, as we've seen them a bit tighter than this in the past. But after clasping the gauntlet for being one of the most exciting bands around today, it's only fair that they should be able to be human once in a while.
Photo by Sonia Melot
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