Sadly gone are the days when bands would routinely have local poets or comedians come on stage as their opening acts – the idea of John Cooper Clarke or John Shuttleworth warming up a crowd before The Damned or A Certain Ratio is something that the kids will have to read about in Paul Morley cultural history books now. But tonight at Gorilla, it is making a welcome and charming one night return.

The circumstances are somewhat different, however. Adam Buxton, as any fans of his will know, is a major fan of Spoon, and having reached out to them for his podcast earlier in the year, he now finds himself on the road with them for their short UK tour. When he comes out tonight, he receives the kind of reception that any headliner would dream of – I think Gorilla knows as much of his stuff as they do of the Austin band. His ramble-chat ranges from his self-deprecatingly short repertoire of ‘real jokes’ to his trademark breakdown of below-the-line YouTube comments. It is rip-roaring stuff, even if he himself might deny it, climaxing with a sonic manipulation of a Beach Boys appearance on Later with Jools that had me in tears.

Morale, then, is high when Spoon emerge. They strike the exact right opening chord with ‘Do I Have To Talk You Into It’ from new album Hot Thoughts, with Britt Daniel’s strepsil-throated howl and Jim Eno’s diesel-fuelled drumming turbo-charging the stuffed room into a sweat-dripping frenzy. Boy, can Gorilla get hot. The new songs are liberally sprinkled throughout the set, deservedly so, with ‘I Ain’t The One’ and ‘Can I Sit Next To You’ both going down as well as any of the older, more familiar tracks.

Spoon are not your average guitar band: more often than not, Daniel’s guitar serves not to supply the lead melody or even the rhythm, but to give songs a bonus jolt of electrocution. Rob Pope’s bass often is entrusted to carry the melody, along with Alex Fischel’s keys. The overall effect is to create a taut, uncluttered sound, compressing the song into a tight, laser-sculpted package that packs an altogether superior punch. Twinned with an intense, confrontational light show, Spoon are a pretty major proposition.

The night’s biggest reactions are reserved for tracks from the excellent 2007 album Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga – ‘Don’t You Evah’, ‘The Underdog’ and especially ‘Don’t Make Me A Target’, the last of which the band follow up by thanking a still-present Buxton, who made the below video for the song all those years ago. Similarly, Gimme Fiction’s ‘My Mathematical Mind’ is enduring, an opportunity for Daniel to let those raspy, hoarse vocals soar, like Paul Westerberg with his shit together, or Tom Waits if he’d ever let his hair down.

They have earned their encore, and despite what felt like a hit-heavy preceding set, they have managed to save two of their biggest bruisers for the end: ‘Hot Thoughts’, a single that gets better and better the more you hear it, and to finish, ‘Rent I Pay’ from 2014’s They Want My Soul. It has been a genuinely thrilling – and consequently exhausting – set, which for a band in their 25th year is legitimately impressive.

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Max Pilley

I'm a refugee in Manchester, having successfully escaped Birmingham in 2007. I'm a soon-to-be journalism student, used to edit the music section of the Manchester Uni paper, and have done a little radio production to boot. I've been adding bits and pieces to Silent Radio since 2012, mostly gig reviews, but a few albums too. Also hoping now to get involved with the brilliant radio show. When doing none of that, you can usually find me at some gig venue somewhere around town.