Built to Spill Fitzgerald's March 12, 2012
After an interview last week with Built to Spill front man Doug Martsch, we noted how humble the rocker was. Modest, even.
Our observation was upheld Monday night, as Martsch and his bearded band walked onstage, setting up their own gear before their sold-out crowd. Martsch, in particular, mechanically adjusted his pedals and gear with patient perfection.
The Boise-based band isn't touring in support of anything in particular. Their last release was 2009's There Is No Enemy, and they begin recording their forthcoming eighth LP this spring.
When the band opened with "Traces," from 2006 album You In Reverse, we realized pretty quickly that the show would differ from the last time we'd seen BTS, in 2010 at House of Blues -- a show during which Martsch justifiably called out the unruly crowd for being so talkative.
Monday night's show, however, was quite the contrary. Energy was high amongst both crowd and band -- or as energetic as BTS members get, which is not very -- but the vibe was all-around positive.
Martsch, a front man not particularly known for his onstage loquaciousness, seemed to agree, and early on.
"This is the first time in Houston that we aren't on some giant stage in some weird place," Martsch noted to the crowd with relief. "It's nice!"
"You Were Right," "Hindsight" and "Nowhere Nothin' Fuckup" were all standouts of the set, as the band reeled through their set, punctuated only by Martsch's usual "Thanks" between each song.
"Carry the Zero" closed their first set. As usual, it was our favorite song of the night.
"Hey, thanks a lot!" You've been so kind," said Martsch, retuning to the stage for an encore.
"And nice singalong, y'all," he continued, before joking, "Except a couple of you -- some of you guys were off."
In the many times we've seen BTS, we can't recall Martsch being so relaxed and jovial with the crowd.
BTS ultimately closed their set with a grueling near ten-minute delivery of "Goin' Against Your Mind." Afterward, Martsch wiped the sweat pouring from his burly beard, and humbly said, "Thanks. We'll see y'all next time."
Personal Bias: I imagine this will be one of my top shows of 2012. So much better than their 2010 show.
The Crowd: Lots of dudes, as usual. thirty- and fortysomething BTS fans who knew every word to every song. A great crowd.
Overheard In the Crowd: "They're so goddamned good!!" And lots of requests shouted.
Random Notebook Dump: Martsch hung out after the show, signing autographs ("Dug") and shaking fans' hands.
Traces In the Morning You Were Right Hindsight Stop the Show Else Nowhere Nothin' Fuckup Fly Around My Pretty Little Miss Wherever You Go Carry the Zero
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Virginia Reel Around the Fountain The Plan Stab Goin' Against Your Mind