Spoon seems comfortable as ever taking an Austin stage


Spoon performs on the Honda stage at Austin City Limits on October 9, 2022.

Sage Dunlap, Life and Arts Associate Editor

A slanted white stripe flashed across Zilker’s Honda Stage, a monochromatic nod to the cover  of Lucifer on the Sofa, the most recent album from hometown indie rock legends Spoon. 

The renowned Austin products drew a sizable crowd to their ACL set, making their return to the festival since their 2017 performance. With over two decades of experience in the city’s rock scene, Spoon seemed comfortable in front of the Austin crowd. 

With the band taking the stage without many other projection elements to fill the space, they let their music speak for itself. To kick off their hour-long set, Spoon frontman Britt Daniel took center stage, briefly addressing the crowd before thrashing his guitar and jumping into the band’s 2014 album opener “Rent I Pay,” captivating the audience with a high-distortion riff.

The set reached a glorious high with their 2005 thrasher “My Mathematical Mind,” which revealed the ensemble’s all-around breathtaking instrumentals, giving each member a moment to stand out. While Daniel howled into the mic with full force, pianist Alex Fischel added a fast-paced key arrangement to the soundscape, his hands often displayed on the stage’s screens. These elements, alongside distorted and echoed guitar riffs, culminated in a striking testament to the group’s prominence. 

The only setback of Spoon’s performance came from their lack of audience interaction. Throughout the set, the band transitioned to each song without taking time to address the crowd in between — a disappointing outcome, considering their Austin roots. However, other elements of their set made the showcase feel more unique, including the choice to invite Austin brass musicians Grupo Fantasma to join in near the end of the performance, accessorizing the rock band’s sound with powerful saxophone arrangements.

Ultimately, the indie rock veterans took the Zilker audience on a wild ride through their multi decade-long discography. Since Spoon’s origins in 1993, they have continued to revitalize their sound with each project, and their ACL showcase only further supported their longevity and legacy of rock and roll in Austin.