The McKittrick Hotel is full of surprises. The last time I visited, for a performance of the hotel’s mainstay Sleep No More, a woman in a nurse’s uniform kidnapped me, put me in a wheelchair, and wheeled me into a creepy, dark room to watch a bizarre projection on the ceiling. Last night, for the first show in the return of Myspace’s Secret Show series, a woman in an old-timey dress took Spoon fans, a bunch of bloggers, and several Myspace employees on a creepy, dark elevator ride to an incredible Spoon show.
The creative team behind Sleep No More helped organize the night, which began with a telegram (an email telegram, it’s 2014) calling selected fans to the hotel:
Once there, we were ushered into a dark elevator where a woman spoke at, I have to be honest, a volume I couldn’t quite hear. She talked about how our souls would soon be soothed, and about how … we would be taken to a place … with fortune tellers? And psychics. Something about souls, and something about fortune tellers and psychics. I ask someone, “What did she say?” He whispers, “I don’t know.” Hmm. Makes you wonder why you ever even talk to people at all?
When the elevator opened, we entered into a hallway where actors immediately pulled a few people away from their groups. Ahead of me, a young man was pulled into a room by a woman who said, “We’ve been waiting for you.” Oooh! I continued down the hallway where a woman handed out lollipops and pamphlets on how to disappear:
The hallway led to a bar and lounge where fancy actors greeted guests. “Nice to see you,” one of them said to me. “…YOU TOO!” I responded, more eager to be kidnapped by a strange man than ever before. Later, a woman grabbed my arm, looked me in the eye, and said, “Hello.” “HELLO!” I responded, smiling too big in a way that seemed to actually weird her out.
She did not take me to a special room.
As I stood around, waiting hopefully for a weirdo to escort me to a closet, the room filled up around me. Spoon fans murmured about where the show would be taking place — behind me was a large red velvet curtain, but all of the Myspace cameras seemed to be pointed in the other direction. Where were we supposed to stand? A Spoon fan asked a man in a Myspace t-shirt, “Where are we supposed to stand?” He replied, “I don’t know.” Hmm.
While we all waited for Spoon to begin, I talked to someone who had been pulled away. He told me he was taken into a phone booth and told to dial a number, at which point a man appeared and told him that he had been waiting for him. The man then anointed him with oil and fed him some sort of cake-like thing with oil on it. (He noted that the cake-like thing was “delicious.”) Because hearing this man’s story was the closest I came to an exclusive experience, I’ve taken the time to invent my own fictional one:
I’m taken into a room. Britt Daniel is there with a guitar. Oh my god. He says, “What song do you want to hear?” Oh my god. I say, “‘Metal Detektor.'” He says, “Hmmm. I’m not even sure if I remember that one.” I say, “What?! It’s your best song! I don’t know why you never play it. I’ve seen you a million times and you’ve never played it. Do you want me to sing it for you? Maybe if I sing it you’ll rememb — ” He interrupts, “Just kidding, I remember it.” I say, “Hahahaha, Britt, you’re so funny.” He plays “Metal Detektor” and it is perfect.
As I stood and waited, the man ahead of me Google image searched “spoon” on his phone. As you could probably imagine, the results weren’t to his liking:
Still, he scrolled through. Maybe he did just want to look at spoons? Ah — no. He revised his search: “Spoon band.” Much better. He scrolled through a few images, possibly guarding against the idea that he would later be tricked by Spoon impostors.
Then it was time to stop looking at what strangers were doing on their private mobile devices and watch the show. Two people came out carrying large white spools of cloth, which they unspooled to form a makeshift screen for a short video the featured women dancing. At one point, the computer’s menu popped up on the screen by accident. Everyone laughed and cheered. As the video ended, a women moved to a spotlight in the center of the audience and sang a creepy version of Ann Margret’s “I Just Don’t Understand,” which Spoon covers beautifully on their incredible upcoming release They Want My Soul. (Out tomorrow!) It looked like this:
Spoon, my favorite band of all time, took the stage wearing all white (the stage was, if you’re wondering, behind the red velvet curtain) and started into “Knock Knock Knock,” a moody They Want My Soul rocker. Though it’s been four years since the band released an album together, They Want My Soul seems to slide effortlessly into Spoon’s comfort zone — the zone where you make perfect, timeless music that is at once familiar and exciting, and is just so good that I can’t even stand it. The show seemed effortless in the same way — this is just what they do. Be so good. They just be so good.
Spoon moved into “Inside Out,” the first, chilled out single from the new album, and the man (there were a lot of men at this show) ahead of me said, “This song is so great.” He is so right! To the delight of the crowd, Spoon then played two old favorites — “Small Stakes” and “The Beast And Dragon, Adored” — before getting back into a mix of new and old. Guitarist and keyboardist Alex Fischel seemed to have a number of technical difficulties throughout the night (amp problems, guitar problems, tambourine problems), but it was only a small distraction from the powerful show, increasingly rare in its intimacy. Spoon is the greatest band on Earth, no duh, and they played like it, so close to my face. You should have come! Why didn’t you come?
Here is the full setlist:
01 “Knock Knock Knock”
02 “Inside Out”
03 “Small Stakes”
04 “The Beast And Dragon, Adored”
05 “Do You”
06 “Don’t Make Me A Target”
08 “Who Makes Your Money”
09 “Rent I Pay”
10 “Got Nuffin”
11 “I Turn My Camera On”
12 “You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb”
13 “Black Like Me”
At one point, Eric Harvey asked, “Who got the rings I handed out?” Britt followed his question with, “Yeah, and who did I give the signed card to? I bet you’re wondering what was in that drink.” Hmmmm.
“Ah, who knows what crazy stories Spoon fans are leaving with tonight,” I thought to myself.
“I just hope none of them are the ‘Metal Detektor’ fan fic fantasy, ’cause that one is god damn mine.”
They Want My Soul is out tomorrow on Loma Vista. Read our review here.