Word by Aric Mayer
Built To Spill :: 10.04 - 10.06 :: Irving Plaza :: New York, NY
I've been a big fan of Built to Spill since 1996 and last saw them perform in Berkeley in the fall of 2004. With a three-night run in my backyard of New York City, it was hard to stay away.
Built To Spill
Following a solid but somewhat lengthy set from the reunited Camper Van Beethoven, who warmed up the crowd with a nice Pink Floyd cover or two, Doug Martsch and his band Built To Spill came out swinging on the first night of three shows at Irving Plaza with "Goin' Against Your Mind." It was great to see excited teenagers in the crowd, revved up and clearly enjoying the new material. Older fans were in heaven as well when the band fell back to survey four tunes from 12 years of solid, creative recording: "Reasons," "The Plan," the gorgeous "Else," and the rapturous rock of "Stop the Show." A stellar cover of "Rearrange" by The Gladiators followed, then back to 1997's Perfect From Now On with "Untrustable," a track they favored heavily on this run.
Irving Plaza is intimate enough that the sonic textures of the three guitarists, bass, and drums were beautifully contained, losing none of the richness or rocking drive. Brett Netson, Jim Roth, and Martsch use a ton of gear, switching off on slide, playing for texture and support, and alternating on the lead riffs as well, with tons of pedals and effects that give the band a unique blend behind Doug's haunting tenor, which carries over the loud din quite well.
Doug Martsch - Built To Spill
By Kim Rottmayer
In addition to leading the band through heavy guitar workouts and singing all the songs, Doug spent quite a bit of time fussing with an onstage projector that sent out images of frolicking cats, an old Lassie children's book and lots of artwork by Mike Sheer, who designed the cover for You In Reverse. Although a nice addition, it's the grinding guitars and building brilliance of the songs that fans flock to when thinking Built To Spill.
I attended the third show too, and despite complaints from fans on message boards about repeating setlists, the band played only half the tunes from the first show - and several of those are from the record they are promoting (You In Reverse), which is of course the point of touring for a signed band. The arrangement of "Strange" was a notable addition to Friday's set, with a great segue to an end section that I had never heard before. "Carry The Zero" closed the set both nights featuring a great build-up leading to a rocking finale that the band seems to enjoy as much as the crowd. The encore clocked in at almost 20 minutes each night - "Broken Chairs" on Wednesday and then "Randy Described Eternity" for Friday - fully experimental, sonically bizarre, and ragingly loud.
BUILT TO SPILL TOUR DATES
10.10 | 9:30 Club | Washington, DC
10.11 | Cat's Cradle | Carrboro, NC
10.12 | Cat's Cradle | Carrboro, NC
10.13 | Variety Playhouse | Atlanta, GA
10.14 | 40 Watt Club | Athens, GA
10.15 | Zydeco | Birmingham, AL
10.17 | House of Blues | New Orleans, LA
10.18 | Warehouse Live | Houston, TX
10.19 | Gypsy Tea Room & Ballroom | Dallas, TX
10.20 | Stubb's BBQ | Austin, TX
10.24 | Jake's Sports Cafe | Lubbock, TX
10.29 | Sam Boyd Stadium | Las Vegas, NV
JamBase | New York
Go See Live Music!