Doug Martsch knows his way around a guitar. Built To Spill played The Vic Theatre last night turning in an unpredictably chosen 1 hour 40 minute set. I was a bit nervous when I attempted to go upstairs to grab a seat only to find that the balcony was barricaded off. (This is never a good sign. In fact, the only other time I have seen The Vic’s balcony closed was a sparsely attended 2006 show by The Charlatans.) A bartender told me there was “painting” being done upstairs. (aka low ticket sales) However none of this mattered as the band took the stage rather inauspiciously segueing from a sound check to the show proper without leaving the stage. (It’s kind of strange when the houselights just get turned down and there is no “glorious” entry by the band.)
This was my first time seeing Built To Spill in a non-festival environment. The t-shirt clad foursome certainly doesn’t put a whole lot of thought into their onstage appearance. I hate to sound like a record executive, but the group could benefit from an image makeover, but I digress. (Doug did have a cool Chicago Comics shirt on.)
Two of the highlights for me were “The Plan” and “Carry The Zero” from Keep It Like A Secret. There was also a touching moment when Doug dedicated “Twin Falls” and “Some” to his mother who watched the show from a box which appeared to be full of friends and family of Mr. Martsch.
The 3 song encore did what I guess it was supposed to do, meaning it left me hungry for more. The night closed with a lengthy rendition of “Untrustable” before which a gracious Martsch told the crowd they were “sweet” for their kind applause. My only regret was that they didn’t play “Kicked It In The Sun” which was the song that I first discovered the band based on its inclusion on a mixtape by a college friend. Exiting the venue, it was clear from the amount of fans that this was a well attended show minus the balcony.
*Update regarding Chicago Comics via their Twitter account: RT @chicagocomics Built to Spill’s Doug Martsch came in, bought comics, and invited the staff to their show at the Vic!!!! He wore… http://fb.me/F6pqYGcj
5. The Plan
6. Ripple (Grateful Dead cover)
7. In the Morning
8. Life’s A Dream
9. Twin Falls
11. Wherever You Go
12. Carry The Zero
13. The Weather
15. Untrustable Part 2 (About Someone Else)