View a slideshow from the concert here.
Built to Spill
Culture Room, Fort Lauderdale
Friday, October 15, 2010
Better than: A lot of bands who look like they're working harder.
Built to Spill shows aren't filled with surprises. The workmanlike efforts of singer/guitarist Doug Martsch and his Idaho cohorts don't create a visual spectacle. But there's nothing quite like the warmth of "Carry the Zero" -- a ten-year-old song built out of at least four interconnected guitar melodies resilient enough that each could be clipped off to plant four separate flourishing compositions -- buzzing through the Culture Room and the opaque, clever lyrics citing the mathematics of human interactions shouted from all corners.
In a black T-shirt emblazoned with a combination of the Aerosmith logo and the Olympic rings, the bald, gray-bearded Martsch said "thanks" a few times as he and four others -- guitarist Brett Netson being the most striking of the bunch with his shaggy, shoulder-length hair -- plowed through a set that relied mostly on new material. Compared to many of the satisfyingly noodle-packed moments of 2006's You in Reverse and previous albums, the recent, slide-heavy "Hindsight" provided a wonderfully concise highlight. Well, it was longer than the aching, stripped "Twin Falls."
As many reviews -- and some free live recordings courtesy of nyctaper -- point out, the tour has often included a cover of the Grateful Dead's "Ripple." The 40-year-old acoustic song, with lines like "Would you hear my voice come through the music?/Would you hold it near as if it were your own?" surely didn't know it would inspire so many beastly loud guitar parts.
Hearing the Dead song also made sense for what came during the encore. On stage by himself, Martsch broke out a pair of acoustic reminders of his 2002 solo album, Now You Know. "Dream" is just as heroic as anything he played at deafening volume -- in part because there's nowhere to hide. Although the night didn't include "Big Dipper," the full-band version of "Time Trap" was meteoric in its own right. Everyone could break off the night with a familiar ringing in his or her ears and some anticipation for another BTS visit someday.
The crowd: Mostly male. Tattoed. Bearded. Still. If not any of these, there as support.
Random detail: There were a lot of fake-outs in between songs featuring little riffs from material that didn't get played.
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Personal bias: The only thing to say while shaking Doug Martsch's hand in the parking lot after the concert is "thanks."
By the way: Opener RevoltRevolt -- also from Boise, Idaho -- appeared to be the same vintage as Built to Spill. Head-shakin' fierce.
Life's a Dream
Nowhere Nothin' Fuckup
I Would Hurt a Fly
Wherever You Go
Ripple (Grateful Dead)
Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss
Distopian Dream Girl
Carry the Zero