NEW YORK — To be an indie-rock fan is no easy task.
There are enough up-and-coming acts playing enough can't-miss shows to keep you out eight nights a week. There are innumerable blogs to peruse, all fluid with overzealous opinions on the hippest and hottest underdog of the moment. Not to mention that the jeans keep getting tighter, the cigarettes more expensive and pulling off that greasy shag is a lot tougher than it looks. Keeping up to speed and in the know is, like, a full-time job, man.
Because fans of indie rock are accustomed to a struggle when it comes to their musical endeavors, truly torrential rainfall didn't stop Spoon fans from pouring into Battery Park City on Wednesday night to catch a free concert. Summer-loving college kids, nine-to-fivers fresh off Wall Street and eager out-of-towners waited patiently for the skies to clear and for the band to dry off their gear and get going.
With the release of their well-received and long-awaited sixth album, Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, the previous morning, Spoon fans brought their high hopes along to the community-sponsored show. When the sky ceased its spitting, the show began with an introduction by a middle-age woman in a fuchsia pantsuit and a new tune called "Eddie's Ragga."
For a song that just landed in record stores 32 hours earlier, spoonfuls of fans managed to sing along to the catchy and distinctively raw opening jam. Moving along, they headed into a guitar-heavy rendition of "Don't Make Me a Target," the minimal-yet-political opening track from their latest release. Returning to older material and turning up the reverb, "My Mathematical Mind" and "Small Stakes" were up next.
Perhaps it was the gloomy atmosphere and the unrelenting threat of thunderstorms, but one might feel as though they rushed through the first half of the set at lightning speed, sans the electric energy.
But just as the energy was waning — cue the horns! With sprinkles beginning to sputter, Spoon dished out their slightly ska-like latest single, "Underdog," complete with a brass trio. "Stay Don't Go," treated to the horn accompaniment, had the crowd all smiles with encouraging head-bobs and hand-claps. Followed by "Turn My Camera On," the less die-hard of Spoonsters were fulfilled and content.
Running through the next few jams in competition with the storm scare, the band plugged through a few more from their current album. Meanwhile, concertgoers who weren't up to speed with the new material squeezed in some quality time to chat — perhaps about hair care, Parliament Lights and wet skinny jeans.
And then, just as the rain began to let loose yet again, frontman Britt Daniel and the guys wrapped things up with the familiar "I Summon You," sending the soaked scenesters back to the subways giddy but perhaps a tad underwhelmed.
While being an indie-rock fan isn't a cakewalk, Daniel makes indie rockin' look like apple pie. He pulls off the raw-though-unflawed sound without a struggle, but is it not the struggle that draws us to indie rock in the first place? Seriously, you try to put on a pair of those jeans in the rain. Now that takes real dedication, man.
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