TVD Live: Spoon at
the Newport Music
Hall, 6/12

PHOTOS: ORIANA BELAVIC | Let’s spend a few paragraphs getting some obvious stuff out of the way before I dig into what this review will really be about.

Spoon is a fantastic band. Like really, really great. Their discography is nearly impeccable, they sound awesome live, the whole band is loaded front to back with incredible musicians, and Britt Daniel is an all-world front man. They also seem like generally awesome people and go out of their way to keep their vinyl discography in print and at a low cost.

You should go see Spoon live. Their set last Friday in Columbus was great and that’s even with the first quarter of the set being completely marred by guitar issues. Daniel’s guitar straight up didn’t work and the lead guitar was all messed up too. They were visibly frustrated and were understandably a little sloppy through the first three or four songs, but when things pulled together, they were a treat.

Back to Britt Daniel for a second—the guy has something timeless about him. From the way he physically looks to the way he delivers his vocals, he just seems like a rock star through and through without coming off as a pompous jerk. He held his guitar high in the air and pointed at the crowd, and at that exact moment the house lights flick on and the audience roars. That’s a mastery of the moment to get a crowd whipped into a frenzy.

At this point I would also comment about how great Spoon’s set list was, but it’s literally impossible to mess it up. Their catalog of songs is flawless and song after song they played was instantly recognizable and made you bob your head. Particular highlights included older songs like “Small Stakes”, “The Way We Get By,” and “Don’t You Evah,” and songs off the new record like “Rent I Pay” and “Inside Out.” I can’t stress enough—Spoon has been around since the early ’90s and they’ve barely had a misstep. Their entire catalog is full of bangers. They’re one low key—and best and most consistent—rock bands of this generation.

They also brought along The Antlers, who in their own right are a band you should pay attention to. Their swirling synths and guitars went from quiet, to loud, to downright noise and brought legitimate roars of appreciation from the crowd when their set ended. With these two bands on the bill, I should have had an awesome time. Oriana and I are truly lucky to be able to cover shows, and seeing bands like Spoon and The Antlers should be an enjoyable experience.

It wasn’t though. Honestly, this show was one of the worst experiences I’ve ever had and I’ll never go back to the Newport Music Hall.

The Newport Music Hall, located on the Ohio State University campus, is billed as a historic venue and is “America’s Longest Continually Running Rock Club.” While these things might be true, the interior of the club speaks to how few shits the owners give about its status as (in their words on the website) “one of the most legendary rock club’s [sic] in the country.”

What was once a beautiful 1920s-era movie theater has turned into just another garbage music club along the side of a road. Paint is peeling off the walls everywhere you look, the owners have whored out the balcony overhang to giant, ugly light-up advertisements and no consideration or respect has been paid to what the building represents. It’s essentially a means to an end for making the owner/promoter of the venue a bunch of cash. Making cash is cool but respecting your building is even cooler.

This lack of respect toward the venue directly correlates to the quality of people who showed up to this particular show. I’ve never been to any other show at this place, but I’m going to go out on a limb and assume this extends to most other crowds. Mainly because I’m mad and have a venue to do it, so deal with it.

I’ve been to hundreds of shows in my life and most have been at tiny, packed clubs. Movement is not always easy if you need to get to the restroom, the bar, or where your friends are standing, but people always seem to figure it out. There’s a respect and understanding that we are all in the same situation, we’re all here to have fun, and we just help out our fellow man or woman.

However this wasn’t the case at the Newport Music Hall. Ohio State isn’t even in session and the room was filled with the sort of general college “bros” that are beyond frustrating. The type that invades your personal space to move in on where you are, hoping you move inch by inch so they end up where you’re standing. Or generally being obstinate when you’re just trying to be a person and move to the bar or restroom.

This lack of respect for the basic necessities of movement brings me to my last point of contention. (I swear, I’m almost done here.) My photographer for this show, Oriana, had some guy put his hands on her and push her when she was just trying to do her job to get to her position to shoot the show. Others were verbally abusive—and made attempts to trip her.

This is bullshit and literally NEVER happens. Regardless if you are annoyed or not (trust me, I know how it is… I get really annoyed, often), you should never put your hands on someone who’s trying to get from point A to point B. It’ definitely even worse if it’s toward a photographer who is just trying to get into place to do her job. This is unforgivable levels of fuckery.

In summary, Spoon rocks and go and see them. They are awesome, play killer music, and seem like really cool guys who care. They also have an incredible opener on this tour, The Antlers. However, if they ever play this trash can of a venue again, don’t go. You’re better off listening to their awesome records at home.

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