Built to Spill could easily be called a phenomenon. A group of men that gel like something that would make Bill Cosby jealous. With a sound that mixes elements of folk and rock, mix in some blues, and ultimately end up with a sound more ethereal than anything, BTS really is a band for everyone. Lazy summer days or cold winter mornings, where leaving bed seems like death, the sweet sounds of Doug Martsch and the gang can make anyone feel like a million bucks.
It was a hot April summer night in Sacramento when fans of both old and new decided to spend their Friday night inside Harlow’s, patiently awaiting one of the best live performances they would see this year. The show opened up with a hearty set from Junior Rocket Scientist, a 4-piece band from Boise. It was clear the audience was not expecting an opening band, but even more were surprised by how good JRS were. It was clear there couldn’t have been a better band to get this show going. It took a few songs, but once Britt Glenn, vocals/guitar/violin, took out his electric violin, the entire scene changed and the crowd finally let loose and moved to the music. A few jams later, the boys confused everyone when they all swapped instruments and wrapped up their set with a few more songs.
Eleven o’clock finally rolled around when Built to Spill took the stage, walking on in a sea of applause. The set was nothing short of amazing. There were songs played off nearly every album released since the start of the group in 1992. A few fan favorites were Sidewalk and You Were Right off 1999’s Keep It Like A Secret. The thing about a BTS show is that it’s all about the music. There was minimal small-talk, hardly any on-stage banter, leaving everyone that attended fully satisfied with the three Hamiltons they paid to get in. However, this doesn’t mean they didn’t engage with the crowd. The few times the gang spoke, it was either to praise to the crowd or tell a clever joke, met with only love from the audience. The vibe was that of hanging out with your best friends, a kid you knew from “back when”, and your parents, your really cool parents.
Nearly two hours later the show wrapped up with an encore performance for the record books. Glenn from JRS joined the group to assist in some much necessary cowbell-ing for what was a fantastic cover of Blue Oyster Cult’s Don’t Fear The Reaper, followed by New Order’s Age of Consent. As the clock struck 1am and everyone scurried off to wherever the night lead them next, it was clear everyone had a great time. The sold out pack at Harlow’s and the men that make Built to Spill left sharing one thing – a light, glistening layer of sweat and the satisfaction knowing they just experienced something that is rare and pure.
For more information on Built to Spill: http://www.builttospill.com
For more information on Junior Rocket Scientist: http://juniorrocketscientist.com
For more information on Harlow’s: http://harlows.com
Words/Photos Jenny Price