Written by Eddie Ferantti
Oct 21, 2010 at 08:00 PM
ImageHad an extreme rare happening recently in Houston, Texas. I went to a concert without any knowledge of any of the artist’s music at all.  Zip. Nada. Nutjing. All I knew was that they carried the “indie rock” label on them and a bud of mine at work had told me about them for years.

“Built to Spill” is a rockin’, jammin’ group based out of Boise, Idaho. Early on I hooked up at the bar with resident local badass singer/songwriter Matt Harlan and asked him WTF indie rock was. He paused and said: “Lazy rock in a good way. Ya know sometime you hear the lyrics, sometimes ya don’t, but the guitars carry the show. I think you’ll dig it.”  To say I felt better about what I was going to see would be an understatement.

Touring this go around behind 2009’s release “There is No Enemy” BTS seemed very laid back and in a let’s play and that’s it mode. Having a front man like Doug Martsch, who looks like an accountant, adds to their on stage persona. These fellows like to set up their own gear for their gigs!  But don’t let looks fool you is what I found out quickly. Soaring 6-8 minute songs dominated and none reached the tedious nature that long songs can become live. These dudes have been hangin’ since 1992 and where the hail have I been?!  My pal Sam had told me it would be loud and they were true to form, but it was okay with plugs for sure.

The spooky lighting was technically impressive, but gave this reviewer little in the way of capturing thee event via camera.  Of course the 4th song had beautiful lighting and I only got 3. Bummer, but that’s for another day.

Judging by the super pro male crowd Martsch and Company were delivering instant satisfaction by playing songs like “Kicked it in the Sun”, “You Were Right” which brought Jim Roth into play along with DM’s killer lead , and “In the Morning”!  This gig took on the feeling as if Neil Young & Crazyhorse jumped in a blender with REM and mixed together to jam rock your ass off in a weird haze of interwoven guitars. Impressive spacey interlude type stuff that brought visions reminiscent of Pink Floyd.  Not bad company.

Albeit a weird decision to have a 3 song solo acoustic encore which dulled the momentum of the gig, Martsch engineered a really enjoyable evening.  I also DUG when he lashed out at the idiots that can inhabit the HOB on a regular basis who insist on talking/texting and just basically ignoring these hard working touring bands !  BTS delivered close to twenty songs by my count and you cannot ask for more nowadays. “Carry the Zero” was very hot and even though the guys tended to lose themselves a bit in jams and extended meandering, the cocktails and “elements’ blended quite nicely indeed.

I may have to try this “naked” coverage more often. I know this time was a home run out of the park for me & my HMR sidekick Dr. Ray.  “Built to Spill” are ON my list of life for sure……………..Catch ya out there “somewhere” !