Built to Spill Will Probably Rock the Showbox
October 4th, 5th and 6th
By Chris Clayton
The fact that I missed tonight’s Built to Spill show at the Showbox isn’t a big surprise. You see, I’ve never seen Built to Spill perform live.
This has not been an easy feat since I enjoy the Boise band quite a bit and, over the past 14 years, have had exactly 1,456,778,999,888 chances to see Doug Martsch and friends space jam, pop rock and generally do their sonic indie thing in concert.
So what in the name of noodling guitar noise makes me qualified to write this preview and recommend you catch the band on night two or three of their 3-day residency at Seattle’s Showbox?
Well, I hear they’re really good live. Trusted associates assure me that Martsch lives up to his “guitar god” status on stage and Cortez the Kills it all over the place (“Cortez the Kills it” is a phrase I recently coined. It means “to jam expertly, uniquely and emotionally on one’s guitar a la Neil Young on ‘Cortez the Killer.'”) Martsch apparently “J. Mascisizes it” a lot, too.
As for bassist Brett Nelson and drummer Scott Plouf? It’s been said that they heroically back the hero.
Oh, and a friend once saw Built to Spill perform an entire show with their backs to the audience. He says it’s one of the best live shows he’s ever seen, or, not seen as it were.
For those of you doing the math so far that’s: long, awesome guitar jams + unpredictability = good live show.
But the real reason I’m willing to bet that these Showbox shows will rule is because, well, Built to Spill rule. The brilliantly loopy There’s Nothing Wrong With Love ranks up there with Slanted and Enchanted as one of the great indie records of the early ’90s. Perfect from Now On is soaked in magically epic waves of guitar and is closest the band has come to perfection. When I was in college, I stole the poppy Keep It Like a Secret from the campus radio station and it’s the best thing I’ve never paid for.
And the album you’ll hear most of at these shows–last year’s You In Reverse–finds a Phil Ek-less Built to Spill going back to their monster jam roots (I can’t wait to hear them rip through “Goin’ Against Your Mind,” the album’s 8-minute long scorcher-of-an-opener.)
On top of all that, the band is gearing up to release another album, so we’ll probably a preview of a bunch of new material.
So there you have it. A Built to Spill preview from someone who’s never seen Built to Spill live. Call it an educated guess, but I’m fairly certain these Showbox shows are going to rock your socks. Expect a lot of Cortez the Killing it and healthy amounts of J. Mascisizing.
When Chris Clayton is not missing Built to Spill shows, he spends his time being the Arts & Entertainment Editor for Seattle Magazine.