November 11, 2013
That Was The Show That Was: Built To Spill | Paradise Rock Club, Boston | 8 Nov.
A Built To Spill concert is a practice in mutually respectful attentiveness. Not to put the band in a bad light, but one gets the feeling the Boise-bred unit methodically delivers the same set whether the room is half empty or a sell-out, as the Paradise Rock Club in Boston was on Friday. Which is totally fine, 'cause Friday night ruled. Led by indie rock lifer Doug Martsch, the act has for decades now wrought thoughtful, measured guitar music that aims straight for the head. As a songwriter, Martsch is at his best when he's stuck in his own mind, fabricating tangible dreamscapes that swoon and rock. A Built To Spill record -- or show, for that matter -- doesn't incite dancing, but more of a gentle, eyes-closed sway in time to the beat.
After impressive opening sets from The Warm, Parasol, and Slam Dunk, Martsch and Co. quietly took the stage and opened with a number from 2006's You In Reverse [review]. What followed was a set that leaned heavily on Reverse and 2009's There Is No Enemy. While those records aren't entirely indicative of the sound the band built its name on, the guitar heroics and jam-band vibe of the songs from that era shine just as brightly onstage as anything in Built To Spill oeuvre.
The band thankfully didn't ignore its older material altogether, and it may be that the songs they played off 1994's titanic indie pop effort There's Nothing Wrong With Love were the most warmly received. However, the set's biggest surprise may have been "Else" off Keep It Like A Secret. The tune's rolling high-hat stutter tranfixed the crowd, setting the stage perfectly for the first set's closer, "Carry The Zero." If the former song was all silent disbelief from the assembled mass, "Carry The Zero" was a downright sing-along by comparison, one that had the crowd hanging tightly with Martsch's high, inflected tenor to the end.
As is customary, Built To Spill closed out its set with impressive covers; this night the band proffered versions of Dinosaur Jr.'s fuzz-rock classic "Sludgefeast" and The Smiths' "How Soon Is Now." The evening ended with Built To Spill's own bona fide classic, "Car," an apropos closer, and a gentle suggestion that Martsch legitimately owns a berth among those indie elites. Built To Spill's current fall tour kicked off almost a month ago and runs all the way up to the night before Thanksgiving; the remaining dates -- including some post-Christmas multi-night stands -- are listed below. -- Dillon Riley
Built To Spill: Internerds | Facebook
11.12 -- Grog Shop -- Cleveland Heights, OH
11.13 -- St. Andrews Hall -- Detroit, MI
11.14 -- Metro -- Chicago, IL
11.15 -- Turner Hall Ballroom -- Milwaukee, WI
11.16 -- Barrymore Theatre -- Madison, WI
11.17 -- First Avenue -- Minneapolis, MN
11.18 -- Blue Moose Tap House -- Iowa City, IA
11.20 -- The Rev Room -- Little Rock, AR
11.21 -- Granada Theater -- Dallas, TX
11.22 -- Fitzgerald's -- Houston, TX
11.23 -- Stubb's Amphitheatre -- Austin, TX
11.24 -- Tricky Falls -- El Paso, TX
11.25 -- Club Congress -- Tuscon, AZ
11.26 -- Vinyl -- Las Vegas, NV
11.27 -- Urban Lounge -- Salt Lake City, UT
Prior Built To Spill coverage:
YouTube Rodeo: Built To Spill's "You Were Right"
That Was The Show That Was: Built To Spill, Dinosaur Jr, Meat Puppets
Review: Built To Spill | You In Reverse
Built To Spill/Treepeople: Tour News And Gratuitous '90s Flashback