Back in 2008, Built to Spill performed their 1997 release, Perfect From Now On, in its entirety at the My Bloody Valentine-curated ATP concert in Monticello, New York. It happened to fall on the same weekend of my very best friend's wedding on Block Island, Rhode Island. After flying in to New York City and driving north toward the ferry that would take me to my most beloved amiga's big day, I seriously considered veering the vehicle a bit westward, toward Monticello. To hear BTS perform one of my favorite albums of all time live, I mean, that'd also be a momentous occasion, you know, in my life.
I tell this story not to illustrate what a shitty friend I am nor to make my friend hate me but rather to demonstrate the pull of this '90s musical masterpiece.
Every day, the sun rises. Every day, I wonder: When is Built to Spill coming back to South Florida? Will they ever play Perfect From Now On straight through again? Will they dedicate it to me?
Last week, one of these questions that nagged me was answered. The legends of indie rock will play live in South Florida on September 11. An ominous date, certainly, but what better way to distract the country from crushing sadness than with the heartwarming melancholy of BTS? This is a band that makes emotions listenable. Not only listenable but enjoyable. Their songs are not sappy. They don't make the part of me that is an uptight New Englander shift awkwardly in my seat or make my face sour with discomfort.
What's so great about Perfect From Now On? The lyrics are definitely some version of divine adolescent poetry. They're often barely discernible, which allows me to make up my own deep thoughts in the form of imagined lyrical content. I sing these along with Doug Martsch. Each song is so long, you feel married to it, but none is boring. The dynamic shifts in tempo and tone make them feel like they're three or more songs in one. Three or more awesome songs. Oh, and the guitar solos. My friends, they're cleansing. Feeling bogged down by spiritual debris? Play this baby and refresh.
When living in New York, I had to spend endless days on the road driving through New England alone for work. On one trip, "I Would Hurt a Fly" played on repeat as I drove through Vermont. After my primitive iPod-to-radio device failed me, I drove literally across the state (it's Vermont, but bear with me here), out of the way of my ultimate destination, to Rutland, the only place in the whole green state to purchase some other primitive iPod-to-radio device so that I could never not hear this album.
Obsessed? Yes. So, on this spring day, I ask Built to Spill to take the summer to consider performing all of Perfect From Now On next fall. Just for me.
Built to Spill. 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, September 11, at Culture Room, 3045 N. Federal Highway, Fort Lauderdale. Tickets cost $18 via ticketmaster.com.
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