Art School, Glasgow

Lisa-Marie Ferla

four stars

THE first thing that strikes you about Spoon is the attention to detail. From the purposeful choice of incidental music (rockabilly, Joe Strummer and the theme from 2001: A Space Odyssey), to the decision to open with a set from comic Adam Buxton instead of the traditional musical support, nothing about the Austinites seems accidental. But it is, perhaps, this very precision that gives them the flexibility to cut loose on stage and deliver a surprisingly entertaining live show.

Much of that falls at the feet of Britt Daniel. The band’s frontman was pure charisma in a sharp suit jacket, beckoning the synths with a pointed finger. His staccato speak-sing vocals, often angular and dispassionate on record, teased and cajoled in all the right places – and, just when you started to wonder if it was all for show, a cut finger dragged you firmly back into the moment.

An atmospheric Do I Have To Talk You Into It?, from new album Hot Thoughts, was a strong start to the set, while the classic I Turn My Camera On positively swaggered during a lengthy instrumental introduction. The Beast and Dragon Adored ramped up the theatrics still further, red lights and walking bass creating a magnificent sense of foreboding, while the crowd-pleasing double header of Stay Don’t Go and Don’t You Evah was the highlight of the night.

Extended, experimental instrumental interludes had a tendency to drag, but a good balance with more upbeat fare left little to complain about. Besides, for every threatened moment of self-indulgence there was a comedic treat – the solid five minutes of drone feedback that turned into 80s power ballad parody I Ain’t The One being the perfect example.