Lollpalooza headliners may have a hard stop at 10:00 PM due to the regulations at Chicago's Grant Park, but for those looking to stretch the live experience into the wee hours, Spoon handily provided a raucous late-night set at the Metro on Friday (Aug. 1). Taking the stage minutes past midnight at the 1100-capacity concert hall following opening act Wildcat! Wildcat!, frontman Britt Daniel saluted the crowd with his plastic beer cup and played the first of the new songs being presented from the band's new album, They Want My Soul.
"We got a new record coming out next week," Daniel, wearing a red button-down and tight pans, nonchalantly told his onlookers an hour into the set, shrugging off further explanation and looking uncomfortable with his role as huckster. The new material sold itself: previously released tracks like "Rent I Pay" and new single "Do You" sizzled with familiar hooks and taut arrangements, while "Outlier" carried a surf-rock haze as Daniel fired off "na na na's" with a snarl. Best yet was "Inside Out," a thoughtful gem with an extended, guitar-led instrumental that Spoon saved for its encore.
They Want My Soul is the band's first album since 2010's Transference, an uneven effort which Spoon largely ignored on Friday night. Instead the set list was composed of a smattering of the group's excellent back catalogue, from the biting indie-rock of Girls Can Tell ("The Fitted Shirt," "Anything You Want") to the neatly composed pop of Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga ("You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb," "Rhthm & Soul"). The back-to-back combination of crowd favorites "The Way We Get By" and "The Underdog" was almost too sugary to handle, and when Daniel collapsed onstage after unleashing the contained fury of "Don't Make Me a Target," the crowd roared at the most passionate moment in the unflappable group's set.
Spoon will perform at Lollapalooza on Saturday afternoon, but are unlikely to sprint through Friday night's entire set list during its allotted 75 minutes on the Bud Light stage. The Metro show, then, was a treat for the diehards, who chanted along with the refrain of the night-ending "Black Like Me" as the clock ticked toward 1:30 AM and then stumbled out happily into the cool Chicago night.