Spoon at Center Stage with White Rabbits and The Walkmen 4/14/08


I’m not sure exactly how long it had been since I saw a show at Center Stage, but it was a long time. I had forgotten what a fantastic venue this is. It seats 1,100 and has theater seating around a just-right sized floor area. This show was also unique because I was curious to see both opening bands. For a $15 ticket, this show had a lot of potential.

White Rabbits

White Rabbits were up first. I had only recently heard of this band, but I had heard good things so I was curious to see what they had to offer. They started at around 7:30, and they were dressed preppy – the singer was wearing a vest and two of the dudes were wearing blazers. Did I miss something? Is this the new trend in rock and roll. They also had two drummers. I’m at a particularly drum-loving point in my career as music fan, and two drummers are lots of fun to watch and listen to. They also had two different dudes who sang lead vocals. One dude looked like Matt Damon, the other looked like he’d rather be somewhere else.

Overall, I think Derrick did a good job of summing up this band’s performance: “I’ll be curious to hear their next album.” They did a lot of interesting stuff, but the songs weren’t great. If they can gel a little more as a band, they could be great.

The Walkmen

I’ve heard about this band for a long time, and I know I love one song by them: “We’ve been had.” Unfortunately they didn’t play it, but they still put on a very good show. Their lead singer has got “it.” Most of the time he’s just on vocals, and he belts it out the way rock and roll is supposed to be belted. He also had a strong but subdued stage presence – the vibe was “I know I’ve got it, but I’ve been doing this for a while and thought I’d be bigger than this by now.” Still, he wasn’t phoning it in – he was definitely delivering on every vocal.

They also had a fantastic drummer – amazingly energetic. Curiously he had no crash cymbal, just a ride that he beat the shit out of when needed. He was so animated while playing that he almost stole the show, but in a good way. Overall a really strong set, and I would check them out if they came back to town.


I’ve seen Spoon before, and I know they put on a strong performance. I also remembered from the last time I saw them that at times the percussive guitar riffs can seem to get monotonous by the middle of the show. I was curious to see if I would have a different opinion this go ’round since Ga^5 has so much more variety than their previous albums.

First impression when they took the stage: I had forgotten they are just a 4 piece band. You definitely hear more sound than that on the latest album, and in general I think it’s a compliment if you assume a band is bigger than it is. At times during the set, the did sound like just a 4 piece and sounded just a teeny bit thin on some of the “bigger” Ga songs, but they still came across as good songs.

It was still the case, though, that around the middle of the set a lot of the songs started to sound similar. Spoon is a very good band with some truly great songs, but their b-level songs sound like the rely on the Spoon formula. Percussive guitar riff, basic back beat on the drums, and Brit’s great raspy vocals. I respect a drummer that doesn’t feel the need to be too flashy, but their drummer often keeps it a little to simple. Yet on their great songs, the drums are usually really interesting. So my advice to Spoon – less backbeat, more variety on the drums.

If this were my first Spoon show, I’m not sure if I still would have experienced this “similarity fatigue,” since their repertoire does have more variety than it used to. However, since I was looking for it I did find it. Still, overall a great rock and roll show by a great band. Very little banter between songs – all business.

Partial Set list (to the best of my memory)

I kept remembering and forgetting that I wanted to try to remember the setlist, so here’s what I was able to remember. I’m pretty sure about the order of songs I included, but I know there are some gaps. If you know I forgot something, please chime in.

  1. Beast & Dragon Adored
  2. Someone Something
  3. ?
  4. Don’t you Evah
  5. The Ghost of you lingers
  6. I Summon You
  7. Finer Feelings
  8. ?
  9. ?
  10. Eddie’s Raga
  11. Don’t Make Me a Target
  12. They Never Got You
  13. I Turn my Camera on
  14. Everything Hits at Once
  15. Underdog
  16. My Mathematical Mind
  17. Black Like Me


  1. ? (new song?)
  2. Fitted Shirt
  3. Rhythm and Soul
  4. Small Stakes

I also remember Brit saying “that was called ‘Chips and Dip'” but I can’t remember when that happened in the set. Notice the absence of “cherry bomb!” What a “fuck you” to the fans!

One Response to “Spoon at Center Stage with White Rabbits and The Walkmen 4/14/08”

  1. vwhitson says:

    Somebody reminded me they did a Paul Simon cover as well, and I think the song was “Peace Like a River”