Spoon with Mondo Cozmo At Stubb’s Amphitheater, ACL Late Night Show, October 13, 2017
Review by Heather Forrester and Photos by Stan Martin
In between handclaps of Mondo Cozmo’s rousing tune “Come With Me,” Josh Ostrander shouted the words everyone was feeling – “It’s Friday fucking night!” – and the crowd cheered back in agreement. This was the first night of Weekend Two of the Austin City Limits Festival activities and people were ready to let loose and have a good time. Mondo Cozmo was the perfect choice to open for local legends Spoon at their ACL Late Night show at Austin’s Stubb’s Amphitheater.
Ostrander began recording under the name Mondo Cozmo in 2016, and his single “Shine” hit #1 on Billboard’s Adult Alternative Songs chart in January of this year. His powerful set drew from his debut August release “Plastic Soul.” He was obviously having a great time dancing and exciting the crowd with his toe-tapping antics. Towards the end of the show, the band performed an electrifying cover of The Verve’s “Bittersweet Symphony” and the crowd went nuts. Josh explained that of all the success he has had this past year, the biggest honor was getting the call to open this show. Spoon’s hometown crowd was more than happy to oblige with a “hip, hip, hooray!” as Mondo Cozmo metaphorically tipped his hat to Spoon for this privilege before finishing the set and leaving the audience with an air of excitement and release.
MONDO COZMO PHOTO GALLERY
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Spoon soon hit the stage with lead singer Britt Daniels asking the crowd “Austin, what’s going on here at Stubb’s?” before launching into their first song of the night “Do I Have to Talk You Into It,” a sonically stellar tune from their latest release, 2017’s “Hot Thoughts.” Seguing into “Inside Out,” the band was tight as the streamlined drum groove and swelling synth phrases propelled Daniels’ gravelly, soulful vocals and kept the audience enthralled. They followed this with soundtrack favorite “I Turn My Camera On” from 2005’s “Gimmie Fiction.” This song has added local significance having been featured in an episode of locally filmed TV show “Friday Night Lights” and the crowd roared its appreciation.
Clouds of cotton candy vape filled the air, and people boogied down to song after song as the lights of the stage moved and cycled from color to color. Spoon has a varied and diverse catalog and the tone of the performance ebbed and flowed throughout the night echoed by the ever-changing stage lights. Often there would be a break from dancing and the mood would become more subdued, with the stage lights darkening and the audience becoming more reflective of the sounds Spoon was putting out.
“What’s up in the back, ya’ll doing alright?” Britt asked. “Can I sit next to you?” before launching into the song of the same name and spurring the audience to dance once again.
Next came the bottom heavy “My Mathematical Mind” and “Don’t Make me a Target” both intense songs that inspired less dancing and more swaying and listening. But Spoon would always pick things back up again from this more somber place, in this case following with their hit “The Underdog.” The audience welcomed the changeup, singing along at the top of their lungs and back to swinging their hips as the stage came to life with bright, clear light.
So went the remainder of the evening, with Britt returning solo to the dimly lit stage for the encore “I Summon You.” The band joined him for a rousing rendition of the title track to their newest album “Hot Thoughts.” The audience was grooving and strutting along with Daniels, cheering as he dropped to his knees during his stinging, sparse guitar solo. They closed the night with the dance jam “Rent I Pay.” It was a perfect ending to a Friday night escape as Stubb’s became a full-on dance club. The song closed with a flurry of drumming by Jim Eno with the stage lights trying to keep up in full-on strobe convulsions. And with that, Britt exclaimed, “Austin, we love you, thank you for coming!” It was a fucking great Friday night for sure.