Because of my foot injury, I've been forced to skip a boatload of concerts this year, only able to physically attend a single one (Shearwater) and I was in so much pain for that one that I could hardly give it any kind of review. But I am pleased to say that after a week of actually bearable pain in the toe for the longest time in seven months, I managed to attend Spencer's first show in New York with his 1800th incarnation as a singer, this time on his tour with Finnish rockers Siinai supporting their brilliant album Heartbreaking Bravery. And the show was absolutely amazing. The album does not even come close to doing justice to the sound of the full band live -- Spencer singing and on keyboards, three Finnish dudes on keyboards, guitars and drums, and Spencer's old Wolf Parade guitarist Dante DeCarlo chipping in as well. They opened with the 2-minute "wall of noise" intro to "Shitty City" and by the time Spencer started singing "We should have gotten out of this town", I was in heaven. I missed being at all these great shows. I missed being in the city. I missed not feeling so much freaking pain in my foot all the freaking time. And I missed the absolute incredible joy that every performance Spencer plays gives me. "Teary Eyes and Bloody Lips" followed with just as much energy, if not more, and the packed crowd at the Bowery Ballroom was going nuts all along, hearing these great songs elevated to another level live, and screaming all the while. "Quickfire, I Tried" followed and then I'm not sure the exact order after that but the band played all the tracks on Heartbreaking Bravery as well as a modified, rock-heavy version of "Fast Peter" from the last Moonface album (which was without Siinai, of course). "Fast Peter" was a definite highlight, as well as the pounding drums and perfect crescendos of "Headed for the Door," which might have been my favorite for the night. But actually they all were really great and I probably enjoyed every one, just a really loud pleasant perfect experience. The band closed with a dramatic version of "Lay Your Cheek on Down" and then came back for a brief encore, a cover of a Creedence song I believe, after Spencer said that was the "last song this incarnation of band members actually knows how to play." I didn't know the song and I would say that was the only disappointing moment of an otherwise brilliant performance. I actually got a few recordings of portions of the show on my iPhone ("Fast Peter" I remember) but after uploading them to my laptop and deleting them from my phone, my 5-month old MacBook Pro stopped working, completely, and I'm pretty sure the hard drive is fried and I lost those videos (and probably a whole bunch of other stuff I hadn't backed up). But I don't want to end this post with anything negative so we'll ignore that for now and just be glad that after a week of big winnings in Atlantic City, a brew fest at Blue Claws stadium, another visit there eating fish tacos with my gambling winnings, a 99-degree birthday party and too many drinks to even remember, I was rewarded with an incredible concert from my favorite artist ever. And my foot held up long enough to enjoy the whole thing. Thanks Spencer.
(and this video is not from my iPhone)