Eight months after selling out Liberty Hall in Lawrence, the band Spoon returned to our area on Monday night, drawing a big crowd to the Midland theater. And for 90 minutes, they justified their popularity.
Monday’s set featured several songs from “They Want My Soul,” released in 2014. It’s only nine months old, but “Soul” appears to be a favorite already among Spoon fans. Songs like “Rent I Pay,” which opened the show, and “Rainy Taxi” were as well-received as songs like “Mathematical Mind” from “Gimme Fiction,” now 10 years old, and “The Ghost of You Lingers,” from “Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga.”
Spoon has been a band since the early 1990s, and sound remains diverse and elusive. It can be buoyantly poppy, like “Don’t You Evah,” soulfully poppy like “Rainy Taxi,” electro-funky, like “Who Makes Your Money” or ethereal and bluesy, like “Knock Knock Knock.” Through it all, front man and guitarist Britt Daniel adjusted his commanding vocals to whatever style was required, including the occasional falsetto.
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His four-piece band, which includes former Kansas Citian Rob Pope on bass, is a well-honed machine, as capable of showing off its power and fury as it is its finesse.
The stage was back lit by five video screens that delivered an array of images and visuals. A few songs were visually embellished by spotlights sprung from the floor of the stage, which was dimly lit through most of the show.
There were a few lulls, “Knock Knock Knock” being one, but those were cured by songs like “Mathematical Mind” and the two songs that closed the first set: “Inside Out,” a lush, satiny R&B ballad from “Soul,” and then the irresistibly catchy “The Underdog,” Spoon’s best-known song. All three stirred loud ovations and some singing-along.
They closed with a four-song encore that included the slow-moving but dynamic “The Beast and Dragon, Adored,” “Black Like Me” and “Got Nuffin’,” another burst of high-energy indie-rock. It made for a lively ending in a room filled with fans who continue to appreciate the ever-evolving sounds of this veteran rock band.