Even though I had gotten a fill of music and it was less than a week since I had been back from Coachella, it didn’t stop me
from seeing Built To Spill at The Alley in Sparks, NV last Thursday night. Built to Spill is one of those bands that went to college with me and one I thought I would ever see play. I knew that they were going to the Sasquatch Festival, but I didn’t buy my ticket in time.
This show wasn’t even close to selling out. It was 21+ and after sliding into The Alley, I headed to the bar and got a coffee. (Where owner Chapin said, “I like my coffee like I like my women…” I won’t finish the rest).
Standing up front, I watched 3-piece rock band Junior Rocket Scientist from Boise. I was impressed that the band
members could move around and play different instruments, with the 7-ft. tall dude playing a bowless electric violin thing. They had great energy and they were handsome.
Next up was 5-piece band Slam Dunk from Canada. These people had crazy energy and a folksy, bluegrass feel. The
saxophone really added a lot to the overall impression. (View a video teaser here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=62kusF11XUU) I was kind of bummed because they threw their tambourine out in the crowd and the guy in the front picked it up and put it back on the stage. I almost yelled at him…when someone throws you a tambourine you rock that shit! I almost asked for it back, but decided to stay put and dance quietly.
Well, that guy that gave the tambourine back was Doug Martsch from Built to Spill. Considering Built to Spill played a 2-hr set, I guess it makes sense that he wouldn’t want to play tambourine out in the crowd for the opening band. I was in the very front, facing a guitarist with at least 7 different pedals. I was mesmerized in the first song just trying to figure out how it all worked.
It’s funny to me that a guy like Doug, with a unique voice and memorable lyrics, can be so shy between songs. All I heard
from him was a meager “thank you” outside of a standard song. But Built to Spill is one of the last jam bands left, and the guitar picking and how the musicians play off of each other goes together like mashed potatoes and gravy. For their encore, they covered a hit from the Smiths that was absolutely incredible (view the song here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q30zrJF_sYU) and then finished with a 15-minute jam song. The guy that sold merch took over for drummer Scott Plouf on that last song, never skipping a beat. Even though I only heard a couple songs I knew, it was nice to get that wave of nostalgia.
The show ended at 1 am, I stopped at In N’ Out, then picked up some snow kayakers on the Mt. Rose Hwy on my way home. It was a perfect full moon.