The 10 days of shows and parties that marked my birthday came to a grinding halt on June 2, when Fischerspooner—more like (Fischer)spooner—played House of Blues minus one member.
2 Jun 2005: House Of Blues San Diego
I could say that the more subdued performance was more fitting to the night’s festivities. What had been planned to be the final birthday blowout succumbed to an overabundance of sangria and cannolis instead becoming a quiet girl’s night out. Well, for the most part.
While Mariqueen Maandig from the opening band, West Indian Girl, swooned sweetly, I looked at my friend and said, “Ya know, Fischer isn’t touring with the band; seems they’re focusing on the music now.”
“That doesn’t matter. Which one is he?” she asked.
“Does it matter? The best thing about Fischerspooner has always been the stage show.”
“I don’t think there can be a show ”
The conversation dipped into the merits of the new album and the stunts of previous performances. Overall, we were mostly right. The theatrics were toned down to the bare minimum, but the show did go on.
If I close my eyes for just a second and pretend that I didn’t see Fischerspooner in New York during the Internet boom—the extravagant duo complementing the excessiveness of the turn of the century perfectly—I might be writing a review with a different twist. So let me start there
Fischerspooner’s new album, Odyssey, is simply brilliant—a grand follow up to their debut, #1. Overcoming problems with a wireless microphone, Spooner delivered a masterful performance—getting the crowd worked up with a decent mix of new and old and delivering “Emerge” at just the right time.
With the plethora of people standing with their arms crossed near the stage, it was easy to work our way to the front of the pit. Planted at the center, I joined the dancers closest to the stage and shook my birthday booty. My dancing neighbor, Brandon as I discovered, appeared to be the most enthusiastic person at the show. And it was contagious. Our two groups melded singing and dancing all the way through “We Need A War”.
Spooner managed to keep the energy at a feverish pitch despite the mediocre stage show. And that’s where the other side of this review comes into play. Instead of the over the top art-rock that most fans were expecting, Spooner and band delivered a more musically crafted set. This, unfortunately, still left something lacking.
Perhaps we were too close to the stage, but the cellulite and varicose veins on the two dancers’ legs made the pair more of a distraction than anything else. The choreography was chock full of “jazz hands” and redundancy, completely void of the hedonism Fischerspooner has become known for.
While trying to win over critics, or break into the mainstream, or maybe truly just maturing into a less concocted sound, Fischerspooner has managed to leave its fabulousness back in Brooklyn. For anyone who had never seen the band before this tour, even a vanilla Fischerspooner show is better than most choices on a Thursday night, but for veterans, this show was a snooze.
As an appropriate ending to the night, we sat around at a bar waiting for the band to show up. If they did end up making the promised appearance, I was already home in bed. Perhaps I’m aging at the same pace of Fischerspooner or maybe we just both have off nights.
// Notes from the Road
"Rhiannon Giddens, formerly of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, brought her Freedom Highway tour to New York for a powerful show. The tour resumes next week and hits Newport Folk later this summer.READ the article