This was long overdue. Two weeks ago from today I attended the Polyforum Siqueiros, with stars in my eyes, to see one of my favorite bands of the current era under the biggest painting in the world, which is pretty cool, actually. Our oddissey started on Friday night, when we arrived at the improvised bus station of the improvised bus company that one of my friends recommended (only on price, although it really is very cheap). I stood in line while my friend kept whining about how hungry he was and trying to find someplace that sold food in that area, at 11 PM. After I got to the tickets table that they had set up, they told me they didn’t have me on the “reservations” list and that they were gonna try to find me some seats. Alright, as long as you take us there, I thought.
They did find us some seats and after reading a bit, I fell asleep listening to Wilco (probably), while my friend was watching this translated version of an old George Clooney movie. When I woke up, we were entering the city. Awesome! I slept about 6 whole hours in a bus that smelled like vomit, without interruptions. Quite an accomplishment. We took about an hour more until we got to another “improvised” bus station downtown and we got out of that disgusting bus. It was about 6 AM, the streets were empty and the city was dark. After getting a bit lost, we finally found the subway station and rode our way to the place where we we were supposed to stay.
After we arrived, we slept some more and when we woke up it was almost noon. We took a walk around the area and stopped to eat at this mall. We finished and walked around some more, then we headed up to the Polyforum. Now, I had heard that it was close to the area we were in, I just didn’t know “how” close. We had plenty of time, so we decided to walk. The day was cloudy and the area was nice, so it seemed like a good idea. There was also this kind-of-subway that was supposed to take us there for $1 dollar. We asked a gay couple if we were headed the right way, and they said that we were, but that we should take the trolley thing as the Polyforum was pretty far. We ignored them and kept on walking.
About 15 minutes in, it started raining. I had no problem with the rain, but my friend claimed he was sick and he started complaining. Then the rain got harder and we had to keep on walking. Eventually the rain stopped, and when we were about an hour into our travesy, we arrived to the Polyforum. Now, this is a beautiful place. It has all these paintings outside and then its whole structure is very pretty. It was around 5 PM and we were ready to get in line, except there wasn’t a line yet. We stood there, confused, until I looked around and noticed these two gringos standing outside the Domino’s Pizza that was behind us.
They really stood out. Leather jackets, boots, designer skinny jeans, blonde. I recognized them immediately and told my friend about it. “Look, Britt and Rob!”. He was pretty shocked. We approached them, like the annoying fans that we are and I had to do most of the talking, seeing that my friend was very nervous; he isn’t very confident in his English. I don’t remember how the conversation went exactly, but I remember telling them something about Arcade Fire and when they were gonna come and they ended up giving us two signed setlists from previous shows. It was awkward, really. I felt like we were annoying them, perhaps because they looked annoyed. The conversation ended like it started, awkwardly. They went into Domino’s and we went our way to the Burger King next door.
Then we went to check the line again. There were about three people. Eventually this guy came in very excited, asking if anybody could recognize the band, as he wasn’t much of a fan. We told him we did, and he said there were these american looking guys in the front side, and he wanted to know if they were the band. We told him they probably were. He left and came back 10 minutes later showing us these pictures of him with some random american dudes. Probably sound engineers, maybe roadies. Later we became friends with the guy and another 2 guys who were close in line. Good people. We spent most of the concert with them.
It was getting late but the line looked pretty much the same as it had a couple hours back. “This is gonna be empty”, we said. It wasn’t. Eventually, people started coming in, although most of them looked like they didn’t belong there, like they were being dragged there of just going for the thrill of doing something. Sucks, I thought. This is what Jim James talks about. Anyway, we went into the gorgeous forum around 9 PM and we were greeted by Spanish band “La Habitacion Roja” who did an okay job with what they had. They really didn’t sound good, but they made up for it with enthusiasm. They weren’t even supposed to be there. There wasn’t supposed to be an opener until Arts & Crafts decided it that day. Finally, they left, and so did the girl who was humping my back and screaming the names of every single member of that band.
At last, Spoon came out. And I was in the front row. Right in front of them. Britt did an amazing version of “Me and the Bean” acoustic, and then the band opened with “Small Stakes”, much to my admiration, and kept on going and going through most of their popular catalogue. The setlist was really pitch-perfect. I couldn’t have asked for more. Perhaps I could have done with some other songs like “Out Go The Lights” and “All the Pretty Girls Go The City”, maybe even something darker like “You Get Yours” or “Let The Distance Bring Us Apart”, but they don’t ever play those songs live, and like Britt told me in our short enthusiastic conversation, “we don’t know how to play those live, they never sound good”. Fine enough, your setlist was better than what I could have ever come up with.
“The Ghost Of Your Lingers” really stood out. They have a way of playing that live that is breath-taking. There were all this loud background effects sounds that really made you jump and added to the creepiness of the song. “Jonathon Fisk” was also good, with its energic riffs and catchy lines. Then there were the usual great ones, “My Mathematical Mind”, “Don’t Make Me A Target”, “The Underdog”, “You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb”, etc. Where they really outdid themselves was when they were starting the encore and surprised everyone with “Finer Feelings”, pre-recorded audio tracks and everything. They closed with “The Way We Get By” and “Rhthm & Soul” and reminded everyone that they are Spoon and they can close with whatever motherfucking song they want and still do it amazingly. We left and started looking for T-shirts but the indie merchants didn’t catch on that there was a concert that night and we couldn’t find any. Sucks.
Overall the concert was very solid and awesome and I enjoyed the whole trip experience with my good friend. They said they were coming back, but I guess they always say that to everyone, so I don’t know what to think about it. Still, if they do come back, I’m there.
Now I need to get my finances back in shape, to pay for Arcade Fire at Teatro Estudio Cavaret next week (Arcade Fire In Retrospective coming next week), and hopefully of Montreal in November at Salón Los Angeles and LCD Soundsystem at the Cavaret again in December. What a year!