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'Thank you for listening': Spoon plays hometown show at Antone's during SXSW 2022

In the end, it all comes back to barbecue.

“Somehow they got Ruby’s barbecue backstage for us after the soundcheck,” Spoon leader Britt Daniel marveled during the encore of the Austin band’s show Saturday night at Antone’s. He’d been waxing nostalgic about all the previous versions of the iconic Austin blues club, which for many years was located on Guadalupe Street just north of Ruby’s BBQ.

Antone’s left that location in the mid-late 1990s. Ruby’s stayed put for a couple more decades but closed a few years ago, without relocating. “There is no Ruby’s anymore,” Daniel said. “But they made it happen.”

It was a nice touch, especially since Antone’s generally works with sister business Lamberts for its barbecue needs. But Spoon deserves something special, as an Austin band that grew really big but never forgot its hometown roots.

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Daniel referenced those roots several times during the band’s hourlong set, which was followed by a 15-minute encore. He recalled writing “I Summon You,” a song from 2005’s “Gimme Fiction,” while living on Hearn Street near Deep Eddy in West Austin. He gave props to opening act Ryan Sambol, who led the Austin rock band Strange Boys for a decade or so but on this night delivered a solo acoustic set of country-leaning songs. And he remembered a favorite record store of yore: “Let’s hear it for Sound Exchange!”

Spoon performs Saturday, March 12, at Antone's. The band played about half of their new album, "Lucifer on the Sofa," which was written and recorded in Austin.

Spoon’s new album “Lucifer on the Sofa,” released a month ago, was primarily written and recorded here just before and during the pandemic. The band played a surprise show last summer at the Mohawk, but stuck to older material for that gig. On Saturday, they played about half of the new album, including highlights such as “The Hardest Cut,” “Wild,” “My Babe” and “On the Radio.”

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As with last summer’s gig, the band announced this show just a few days beforehand and sold tickets only to those who bought them in person at the Antone’s box office on Wednesday, which turned out to be as wintry as that July ticket-buying day at the Mohawk was blazing-hot. “Thank you for coming out in the middle of a cold day and buying tickets,” Daniel offered early in the set.

Die-hard fans got a lot of older Spoon favorites as well, from “Jonathon Fisk” to “My Mathematical Mind” to “Don’t You Evah” to “Inside Out.” The sound was exemplary throughout — Daniel said during the encore that he thinks this latest Antone’s location “might be the best one” — and the crowd seemed to enjoy the set immensely. It was a very Austin-tatious night, and while the show wasn’t officially a part of South by Southwest, one of the festival’s founders stopped in to check out a few songs.

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Spoon’s current lineup might be its best in a nearly 30-year history that has included around a dozen members alongside co-founders Daniel and drummer Jim Eno. Multi-instrumentalists Alex Fischel and Gerardo Larios, plus new bassist Ben Trokan, provided perfect support throughout, particularly Fischel’s keyboard fills during “Inside Out” that drew a special shoutout from Daniel.

Near the end of the night, Daniel acknowledged that Spoon had wanted to play a record-release show last month, but the band had tour dates scheduled at that time. “This is the closest we could do,” he said, and the crowd certainly seemed fine with that. “Thank you for listening. And if you bought it, even better.”