The threat of foul weather couldn’t stop the faithful fans from coming to Surly Brewing Festival Field on a humid Saturday to see Spoon and Grizzly Bear. This sold out show kicked off the joint Surly Brewing/First Ave outdoor concert series. With a bunch of the best local food trucks and Surly beer flowing freely, Festival Field proved to be an outstanding venue for an evening of outdoor music.
Up first was Grizzly Bear. The New York based band opened with “Aquarian” off of their latest release Painted Ruins. Their sound was a sonic collage, clean and dense, played with a heavy seriousness. This seemed too much for guitarist Daniel Rossen’s amp, killing it in mid tune . After an awkward break while the amp was replaced, the band wasted no time getting back to creating beautify layered aural landscapes.
“Fine For Now” was powerfully played, and one of the highlights of the set. The crowd really got going for “Morning Sound”. The sound system set up by First Avenue was amazing, and really highlighted the lush sonic transmissions Grizzly Bear produced from the stage.
Set List: Aquarian – Losing All Sense – Cut-Out – Yet Again – Fine For Now – Ready, Able – Four Cypresses – Mourning Sound – Sleeping Ute – Two Weeks – While You Wait For The Others – Three Rings – Sun In Your Eyes
Born in Austin Texas in 1993, Spoon rocked the music world with the release of Telephono. Many argue that this was the beginning of what we now know as Indie rock. Spoon solidified their status as indie radio royalty with the commercial success of 2002’s Kill The Moonlight. If Squeeze and Nine Inch Nails had a love child, it would be Spoon. They are currently touring in support of their latest release, Hot Thoughts.
Spoon came on around 8:40 pm, and the clouds parted, as if on que, bathing the band in golden sunlight They opened with 2 songs off They Want My Soul, “Knock Knock Knock” and “Inside Out”. Dense, clean riffs, Spoons signature sound, immersed the sweaty crowd. Britt Daniel commands the stage like the captain of a battleship, gracefully strutting with rock star cool. He can play a pretty mean axe too, and his chops were on full display Saturday night. Though Daniels is clearly the leader, the stage is set up so that the whole band is highlighted.
Drummer Jim Eno and bassist Rob Pope lay down a mean rhythm section. “Hot Thoughts” had couples dirty dancing all over Festival Field. While the band is streamlined, and their recordings are so well produced with effects, their music live is in your face garage punk greatness. The band definitely kicked it up a notch for the live versions of “My Mathematical Mind”, “Don’t Make Me A Target” and “ The Underdog”. Jerry Garcia would have been proud of this three-song jam, complete with spacey improvs between tunes. The swirling neon lights flashing to the beat of the songs was a great addition. After a brief break, Spoon came back out for a 4-song encore. Incendiary versions of “Don’t You Evah” and “Rent I Pay” capped off the evening and had the crowd singing along at the top of their lungs.
Thankfully, the weather gods smiled down on Surly Festival Field on Saturday night, providing an epic evening of outdoor music.
Set List: Knock Knock Knock – Inside Out – I Turn My Camera On – The Fitted Shirt – Do I Have To Talk You Into It – Do You – Hot Thoughts – Can I Sit Next To You – My Mathematical Mind – Don’t Make Me A Target – The Underdog – Small Stakes
Encore: Black Like Me – Don’t You Evah – The Way We Get By – Rent I Pay