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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

3/3/2008: Built to Spill - Houston, TX

A few months ago, I was on Ticketmaster.com trying to score some Sia tickets. While looking at the Warehouse Live venue’s page on the site, I also saw that Built to Spill tickets were on sale. “Hmm. I wonder how much those are going for,” I thought to myself. I right clicked the link and opened the link in a new tab. Back in the main window, I was looking at the price for Sia tickets. “$16? That’s not bad.” I hurriedly bought my tickets and was soon greeted by a message that read something like this, “Thank you for buying tickets to Built to Spill.” Yes, apparently Ticketmaster doesn’t work in two windows so whatever the most recent link you click on is, that’s where you’re going. That, friendos, is how I wound up with tickets to Built to Spill, a band I really like, but had no desire to see live.

The evening didn’t start too well. Opening band, Helvetia, was plagued by a lead vocalist that was less than stellar and a drummer (the same for Built to Spill) who was totally losing interest as the set progressed. They did manage to set the theme of the night, however, which was manic guitaring. The lead singer/guitarist was extremely proficient on the electric guitar on which he was playing. Helvetia played one decent song that managed to be both technically impressive and entertaining. Of course, they ran that into the ground when they decided to play a 20-minute mess suite, and I think by about 10 minutes into it everyone involved was about tired of it; including myself and everyone around me.

Not into it.


Also not into it...note the blank, uninterested stares.

The second band up was, in a word, old (the first time they played in Houston was before I was born). So old, in fact, that at one point I leaned over to my friend and noted, “These guys stopped getting laid years ago!” That might not be entirely true, however, as the drummer did have a little bit of that Kevin Spacey vibe going on...and I know how you ladies love Kevin Spacey. The band came out, noticeably under the influence of some substance, and the bassist in particular was comically high. They had a very southern rock sound, but as Helvetia did, the guitars were amazing. The bassist, though ridiculously high, was freaking out the entire night and putting on quite the show. The guitarist and lead vocalist played on a sea foam green guitar and was just as manic. At one point he took out his quarter inch hookup and began playing with it, creating quite the loud, messy, distorted experience. It was awesome. Of course, it wasn’t until I heard the band play their last song that I figured out who these guys actually were. The song was “Backwater,” the band, The Meat Puppets. Nice...

After about a 20-minute intermission, Built to Spill was on stage and ready to go. Unfortunately, so was I. I had woke up that morning at 4:30am, worked 8 hours, and had to do the same thing the next day. I was right at the front of the stage, standing directly underneath Doug Martsch and I was able to catch a glimpse of the hand-written setlist that lied beneath him. After seeing that nothing that interested me (“Car,” “Carry the Zero,” etc.) was coming after “Time Trap,” I decided to head towards the back of the venue to get some wide shots before heading out the front door. The band sounded great, and I was impressed with the fact that Doug played most of his complicated guitar riffs with his eyes closed (show-off). I stuck around for about 5 or 6 songs, which I felt was enough to get a good idea of the Built to Spill live experience. If you’re into the band, I highly recommend that you go check them out.


4 comments:

denise said...

odd. i was there and they played "carry the zero" ..their very last song before coming out for the encore.

denise said...

i got this feeling that i might have seen you leave. were you the tall blonde buzzed cut guy with glasses? i just noticed this kid standing front and center the whole night and then he left when built to spill were just getting into it. hah, i wonder if that was you. well whoever it was, they made me wonder.

Cale said...

Yeah that was me. The hair is red though...

So pissed that I missed "Carry the Zero," it's literally my favorite Built to Spill song. Oh well. I hope you got a little closer to the stage because of me.

denise said...

i was actually standing up on the elevated section right by the stairs that went down to the floor. i did see you leave then, funny. for the encore, they did "velvet waltz" but it went on and on and on for literally 30 minutes and then the show was over. the crowd was bored and ready to go but probably half stayed in hopes of them ending with a fan favorite. didn't happen. i'd be lying if i said i wasn't a little disappointed.