Back in October we told you about the Spoonfed Tribe Kickstarter project for a new CD. A few weeks back, I got an advance copy of that CD, Enjoy the Ride (produced by Alex Gerst, son of legendary producer/sound engineer/songwriter Harvey Gerst). It is certainly Spoonfed, with Egg Nebula on vocals/flute, Jerome 57 on bass, Kaboom and Goofahtts on drums and Sho Nuff on guitar. But the tribe has now grown horns — with the addition of saxmen Jeff Dazey and Shadow Price, and David Willingham on trumpet and keys. The band’s sound is ever-so-slightly more melodic and polished, somehow less aggressive and more accessible, without losing the percussive violence that is Spoonfed. It’s become one of my favorites, and has replaced Public Service Announcement (the band’s previous album) in my CD changer.
The band’s initial release party was in Dallas, and while I was unable to make it, I got word that they were doing a repeat in Funkytown. I headed down to Lola’s to see if they could duplicate that CD greatness live.
Spoonfed was setting up when I walked in, and epic sound man Dre Edmonson was busy setting up mics for three drum kits, three horns and the rest of the gallimaufry of noisemakers that makes up a Spoonfed stage.
There was a crush to be near the band, and I stayed wedged in up front for the first couple of songs, but eventually the thing became just a touch too claustrophobic so I slogged my way through the crowd to right in front of the sound booth. The sound was phenomenal, and the light show (a psychedelic video projected over the stage) played on the heads and shoulders of the dancing concertgoers.
I found myself singing along with Drastic from the new album, and then with Two Fat Cats from Public Service Announcement. The percussion at one of these concerts is thunderous, and Egg alternates between emphatic flute and trippy vocals. He keeps two mics live, one for normal vocals, and another hooked into an effects processor for delay and flanging effects. By shifting physically between the two, he can get a smooth transition from spacy and distorted to lucid and comprehensible. The synth added a smoother, spacier texture, and the horns brought in a more soulful element to the drum-circle-gone-off-the-rails Spoonfed paradigm.
The band continued right up to the point where the staff turned on the house lights. For the last couple of songs, more drummers and brass players from the Effinays (who had opened for Spoonfed earlier) came onstage, and some of the drums were moved to the dance floor.
Spoonfed has been around for 14 years, and even though the band spends more time touring the country than playing here, it is an indispensable part of the sonic fabric of the Metroplex. There exists a familiarity to even the band’s newly evolved sounds — how many bands do you know that can add a brass section without the slightest change to its identity? It speaks to the honesty and the organic nature of the Tribe’s art.