Last Thursday Spoon played the second of two sold-out shows at the 1,400 capacity Webster Hall, supporting the release of "Gimme Fiction," their fifth record. Spoon's studio perfectionism makes them the kind of band you might expect to fall flat in live performance, but their shows are excellent, largely because of frontman Britt Daniel's charisma: He has a classic rock voice, confident and raucous and unashamed, and a swaggering, cocksure presence to match. There was something newly cold and a little put-on or exaggerated about his demeanor at this particular show -- as if, perhaps, in his head he was playing at Radio City, and not Webster Hall -- but he was still mesmerizing to watch. Sitting behind Daniel was drummer and co-bandleader Jim Eno. He has none of Daniel's magnetism, but his drumming -- like Ringo Starr if he had listened to a lot of Prince -- is what fires the Spoon machine, what gives the music its raging, passionate, mechanical heart.
Opening for Spoon were label mates the Clientele, who tour the States infrequently, and should probably keep it that way if they want to keep their fans here. Their records are a gauzy, soft-focus fantasia of English coziness and nostalgia, but in performance all the coziness departs and you're left standing in a chilly English drizzle. I'm not sure I can think of another band I like so much on record but find so deeply boring in concert.