It’s no secret the Austin indie heroes of Spoon compose one of the most prolific and consistently terrific bands of the 21st century. Following the release of its greatest-hits album, Everything Hits at Once: The Best of Spoon, the band has joined one of the strongest indie-rock tour lineups in recent memory, the Night Running Tour, co-headlined by Beck and Cage the Elephant. Spoon and New York's Sunflower Bean open the show.
“The idea of the tour came together as almost like a minifestival,” Eno says of the trek. “The lineup is great, which just makes it more fun. We stick around and watch the other bands — they both put on great shows.”
Eno believes the tour presents a great opportunity for Spoon to reach new listeners who might have only a passing familiarity with the band’s work, even if it relegates the group to an earlier time slot than usual.
“If you look at like 10,000 to 15,000 people there each night, let’s just say that a third of them have listened to our music extensively, a third may be one of those people who have heard us ten times but don’t really know who we are, and the other third have never heard of us. So it’s basically like we have two-thirds of that crowd that we can reach and pull them in to get into our band,” he says. “One thing I’ve noticed is that a lot of people already know us, which is great, but even more: The first couple [of] songs, people may be sitting down, but as it goes along, we can pretty much get everyone standing by midway or so. That shows we’re translating and hitting new people, and people are excited about the show.”
Spoon is still fully invested in reaching new fans, as evidenced by not only the tour but also last month’s release of the band's well-deserved greatest-hits album. Eno explains the thought process behind the record’s release: "I discovered a lot of bands through greatest-hits records, like Louder Than Bombs for the Smiths and Substance for New Order, and I just feel like it made me want to go and buy every record by those guys.”
It was no easy task to assemble the record’s brisk track list, which consists of 12 previously released tracks and the newly recorded “No Bullets Spent.” The consistent quality of the group’s output could have easily made the album three times longer if it weren't for the bandmates' restraint. When the dust settled and the band had reached a final track list, plenty of Eno’s personal favorite Spoon songs didn’t make the cut, including “Mountain to Sound,” “Advance Cassette,” “Metal Detektor,” and the newer “Can I Sit Next to You.”
“One of the ways we thought would be good to cut it down was to look at any songs that were still in our live set,” Eno explains. “If the song is still in the set, then people must be relating to it, and we must be getting a good crowd reaction from it.”
Though Spoon seems to be enjoying a well-earned victory lap, the band recently endured a major change. Its grueling touring schedule since the release of 2017’s Hot Thoughts took a heavy toll on the members, and earlier this summer, longtime bassist Rob Pope announced his departure from the group.
“It’s hard," Eno says. "I feel like he and I really had like a rhythm-section connection, so it was a bummer... The last touring cycle was really hard for us, so it’s understandable, basically wanting to be closer to family and home more — I totally get that. He’s still a really good friend of ours; there are no hard feelings.”
Despite the setback, Spoon continues to work at its usual pace. Eno indicates the band will begin preparing a new record soon, and if the success of the Night Running Tour is any indication, there will be plenty of new fans fervently awaiting its release.
Spoon. With Beck, Cage the Elephant, and Sunflower Bean. 6 p.m. Friday, August 30, at Coral Sky Amphitheatre, 601-7 Sansburys Way, West Palm Beach; 561-795-8883. Tickets start at $29.50 via livenation.com.