When Britt Daniel teamed up with Handsome Furs and Wolf Parade’s Dan Boeckner in 2012 to form Divine Fits – releasing an album, an EP, and embarking on a lengthy tour – it diverted attention from his main project, Spoon, but he never intended to stick a fork in it.
He and his trusty Austin-based band mates asserted as much Tuesday afternoon with the release of a new teaser video – the second previewing material from a still unnamed eighth studio album – and announcement of an international tour that wraps at the 13th annual Austin City Limits Music Festival, set for two weekends this October.
How appropriate, then, that they’d warm up for that jaunt with a free, secret/surprise hometown performance – posted on social media shortly after the tour announcement – at 175-person capacity venue Hotel Vegas. Daniel & Co. were in top form from start to finish of their 16-song set list, but all those hoping to hear new tunes were answered with a resounding “nope.”
Then again, what fans did get was fantastic in its own right: a tack-sharp, overtly celebratory greatest hits set that seemed to shed a little light on where the musicians’ heads might’ve been at while recording the upcoming disc. The show was notably light on tracks from their last album, 2010’s Transference – only two numbers, the ultra-groovy “Who Makes Your Money” and the rousing “Trouble Comes Running”, were featured – and heavy on songs from Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga.
Of the seven played from that 2007 record, key cuts included the invigorating show opener “Don’t You Evah”, a revisitation of Daniel’s disarming yet charmingly tense weirdness on the driving buildup of “The Ghost of You Lingers” and the galvanizing piano-and-acoustic-led show closer, “Black Like Me” – a final nod to that era when the band perfectly blended experimental indie with peppy, catchy soul.
Not to be ignored: amped up runs of deep cuts “Small Stakes” and “Utilitarian” – still infused with a distinctly visceral haughtiness and enhanced here by the extra keys, guitars and percussion of Divine Fits member Alex Fischel – that were balanced out nicely by the cool funk of “I Turn My Camera On” and the swoon-worthy “I Summon You”.
Yet perhaps most significant among the selections was “The Beast and Dragon, Adored”. This night, the song’s lyrics – “Where you been for so long/ I went to places unknown/ rented a room/ and I forgot my pen/ shook my twin/ and I had to find the feelin’ again” – resounded with a highly applicable, genuinely anecdotal tone.
When Daniel, eyes closed and posture defiant, belted out the chorus – “I got a feelin’ it don’t come cheap/ I got a feelin’ oh and then it got to me/ it took its time a-working into my soul/ I got to believe it come from rock and roll” – it rang out as referential to Spoon, a band who clearly isn’t finished tapping into the most potent channels of contemporary rock to carve out an even more impactful legacy.
Don’t You Evah
Who Makes Your Money
Rhythm & Soul
The Way We Get By
The Ghost of You Lingers
The Beast and Dragon, Adored
My Mathematical Mind
I Turn My Camera On
Trouble Comes Running
I Summon You
Don’t Make Me a Target
You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb
Black Like Me