Review+Video: Built To Spill live in Vienna, September 2013

Built to spill
15.09.13 Flex, Vienna
Presented by PSI2

I admire Built to spill, I really do. One could say the reached the peak of their popularity in the late 90s (at the peak of the “indie wave”of bands like Sonic youth or Dinosaur Jr ), however, since then, they have kept a steady and loyal fanbase, (which explains the crowd at the show tonight in Vienna) and a considerable collection of great albums, that make every setlist of the tour a dream, full of hits.

So just to warn, this is a hardly objective review of one of my favorite bands, just being honest.

The band showed up on stage, and jumped directly into “Fuck 2006” and “Going against your mind” (which opened 2006´s “You in reverse”) with new members Steve Gere (on drums) and Jason Albertini (on bass). Built to spill has always been a revolving door project, with frontman Doug Martsch as the only permanent member, so no surprises here.

The sound was perfect, with the three guitar-psychodelia cutting through the mix. The most interesting thing about Built to Spill is the mixture of great pop songwriting and psychodelic guitar work entangled together, with tracks averaging 5-6 minutes (sometimes even longer on live shows, as songs sometimes get extended and include improvisation).
This has always been a band whose epic live jams outdo their studio recordings, and that night was no exception.

Highlights of the night were “Reasons”, “You were right”, “Fly around my pretty little miss” and other hits like “Liar” or “Carry the zero”, playing a maximum of 2 songs from each album, we got a good summary of the band´s career, and a history course on indie rock. Because, when watching Built to spill live it is obvious to see the influence they have had on other bands like Modest mouse or Death cab for cutie, to name a few.

There were also a couple of inspired covers (Jokerman by Bob Dylan, Abba Zaba by Captain Beefheart, and How soon is now? by the Smiths).

After a 3 song encore, the show ended with a very extended version of the aptly named “Stop the show” that shows ironically, Built to spill are in their best shape, and far from stopping the show.

Pavlov’s Dogs TV:Built To Spill – You Were Right

Pavlov’s Dogs TV:Built To Spill – Goin’ Against Your Mind

Text: Miguel Figuerola
Video and Pictures: Svetlomir Slavchev, Javi Figuerola