THIS LITTLE UNDERGROUND
Spoon and Tennis, House of Blues, May 2
are one of those acts that have proven a model of success in management of both art and career,
no small feat for a lifer indie band. In evolution, they’ve come an extraordinarily long way from a playfully weird and spiky ‘90s guitar band to a contemporary, arena-sized alternative-pop sensation. The massive synth rig of their current setup is proof of that mileage. Somehow, they’ve managed to not just last but also navigate an incredibly dramatic metamorphosis with quality and soul intact.
It’s been 10 years since the last time they were here to perform at the Anti-Pop Music Festival.
They were already indie-big then, enough to be one of the festival headliners. Well, look at them now.
They’ve returned to the spotlight of a prime venue with swank, primetime stage production before a big, buzzing crowd – all earned on sheer merit.
Back in my 2007 interview
with band co-founder Jim Eno, we talked about the upending tectonic shifts happening in the music industry and how Spoon were maneuvering the uncertain ground on the cusp of a new paradigm. At that time, they were making it work pretty well. Still, they probably thought the stratosphere of their brief but ill-fated dalliance with the major labels
back in the indie-rock sweepstakes of the ‘90s was a dream aborted.
Little did anyone know that – through good, hard work – they’d ultimately chug their way back and ascend to the heights they’re now enjoying via the indie circuit.
But Cinderella stories do happen. And if anyone deserves this royal treatment, it’s these guys.
As if Spoon’s first Orlando show in a decade wasn’t enough, the bill was even more exceptional with the inclusion of opener Tennis,
who are one of those acts that are as much a state of mind
as they are a band.
Their music – or more precisely, the microcosm that it conjures – is its own beautiful world of tuneful nostalgia. It’s a blend of indie and oldies
forever adrift in an insulated and idealized womb perpetuated by the frequent and well-documented sailing junkets at sea of married collaborators Alaina Moore and Patrick Riley. Between their perfect pop facility and the golden rays they invoke, it’s all air and ease.
Still, Tennis’ records are a meticulous affair of vibes, precision and specificity. So it’s to their considerable credit that their live performance glowed with such fidelity, stroking their intimate but rich lover’s songs with vivid exactitude.
It was a showing worthy of the particularly good reception they received from this crowd. Seriously, people actually threw flowers
This Little Underground is Orlando Weekly's music column providing perspective, live reviews and news on the city's music scene.
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