Built to Spill at Fitzgerald's, 11/22/2013
Photos by Jason Wolter
Built to Spill Fitzgerald's November 22, 2013
As Friday's temperatures plunged into the low 40s, Fitzgerald's provided some welcome warmth. Thanks to a packed-in sold-out crowd awaiting beloved Boise rockers Built to Spill, the room grew steamy in no time.
Before the band began playing, front man Doug Martsch approached the mike without saying a word, yet somehow just his presence was enough to ignite boisterous cheers. He milked the attention for a moment, smiling, before playing set opener "Stop the Show."
At the first notes, the crowd cheered in approving recognition. Similar to BTS's last Fitz show, this was clearly a schooled and adoring fan base.
Martsch looked like his typically unassuming self, only now with a little more grey in his beard and a little less hair on his head.
Built to Spill haven't released an album since 2009's There Is No Enemy, though they're currently writing songs for a forthcoming 2014 release, according to a recent press release. On Friday, they managed to represent every album in their extensive catalog, tapping mostly into older albums like 1994's There's Nothing Wrong With Love and 1999 gem Keep It Like a Secret.
Martsch isn't exactly known for his showy stage aura or loquaciousness, but he seemed a tad off at first -- this could be because the band's van broke down en route to Houston; the delay caused BTS to miss a proper sound check, so the first few songs were touch-and-go until they found their groove. A couple songs in, Martsch was noticeably more relaxed. As usual, he only addressed the crowd with a quick "Thanks" between songs.
"Carry the Zero" closed the first set, as fans sang along with Martsch's every word. When the band returned to the stage for an encore, he acknowledged the crowd's unyielding enthusiasm: "Every once in a while, an audience will sing along," he said, "but you guys sing along better than any!"
Review continues on the next page.
Built to Spill tackle some cover songs every now and then, though we haven't heard any during their last stops through town. Friday, however, they played some choice covers pocketed until the encore, including New Order's "Age Of Consent," during which bassist Jason Albertini and guitarist Brett Nelson both played bass.
A mirror cover of Blue Oyster Cult classic "(Don't Fear) the Reaper" livened things up, with members of opening band Slam Dunk joining BTS onstage for some comical cowbell delivery.
Closer "Goin' Against Your Mind" ended the set on a rocking high note, a song just as good as the two classic cuts that preceded it.
"Thanks," Martsch said, before finally walking offstage. "See you next time!"
In today's era of slick Internet bands and transient music trends, Built to Spill remain refreshingly true to their roots. They are, and always have been, a really good rock and roll band, plain and simple. And we suspect that's how they'll stay.
Hey, Built to Spill -- we appreciate your consistency.
Personal Bias: Team BTS, always and forever.
The Crowd: Your typical BTS crowd: Lots of cool, bearded dudes. Superfans.
Overheard In the Crowd: "More cowbell!" (Duh.)
Random Notebook Dump: "You were right when you said 'This is the end...'"
Stop the Show The Plan Planting Seeds Strange Car The First Song Else Kicked It In the Sun Mess With Time Stab Big Dipper Joyride Carry the Zero
Liar Age of Consent (New Order cover) (Don't Fear) the Reaper (Blue Oyster Cult cover) Goin' Against Your Mind
ROCKS OFF'S GREATEST HITS
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