Wednesday, September 24, 2008
I headed to the 9:30 Club last night with my friend Doug to see Built to Spill, Idaho's finest export since the potato. They were performing "Perfect from Now On" in its entirety. Playing a whole album is a bit of a trend these days. Liz Phair just did "Exile in Guyville" at 3 shows, including D.C. And yes, I'm pissed beyond belief that I missed it. A bunch of other people have done it recently, but you'll have to research that on your own. I'm too tired. Anyway, for reasons not entirely clear, we almost missed the BTS show, and that would be unacceptable. We've been skunked the past few years because they come to DC around 4th of July, which is when a bunch of us go on vacation. Yet here we were with the opportunity to see them, and nobody was out of town, and we almost didn't go. Long story short, I got out of class early, called Doug, said, "HEY! We goin' to Built the Spill or what?" Within a couple minutes the decision was made. And I'm glad of that. And how's this for signs that shouldn't go unanswered? Monday morning, "Car" comes on my iPod on the way to work. Tuesday morning, "Car" comes on the radio. Hmm, lookit that.
I've seen BTS a couple times in the past and they never let you down. And last night was no exception. The whole show was rock solid, start to finish. The Meat Puppets opened. I don't know a ton by them, but I know some of their stuff. I was doubly impressed with the half hour of their set that we caught. Those boys know how to rock, and bring out the twang. That part surprised me a bit. And how's this for more alignment of the stars. Last night I saw the Meat Puppets. Today is the 17th anniversary of the release of Nirvana's "Nevermind". The Meat Puppets performed on the Nirvana Unplugged session back when MTV still played music. Wow! See what I'm saying here?? Watch the signs people.
But I digress. So BTS really wailed it out for the entire show. "Stop the Show" was an intense and dirty highlight. The last song, "Untrustable/Part 2 (About Someone Else)", was hardcore as well, but then it got better. I told Doug how much I hope they play "Going Against Your Mind" after the album. Later, he said he now has it in his head. Uh oh. So they're cranking Untrustable and all of a sudden the opening riffs from "Going Against Your Mind" burst out. Awwwww, shit. Yes. Here's YouTube video of the song (this isn't from last night)
I still remember the first time I heard the song. They played it at a show before the album "You in Reverse" was released. We headed up to Philly to see them at the Electric Factory in 2005. As usual, we were running late because we pregamed too long. As we walked into the club, there was a song that reminded me of motion. That's the only way I could describe it. I had no idea what it was, nor did anyone else. The following year I kept hearing the song on the radio prior to the release of "You In Reverse" and it all came rushing into my head. The song is peerless. It'll get you going like nothing else. And last night they crushed it. I cranked so hard that I actually hurt my shoulder (not the first time that's happened). But it was worth it. Following a quick break, the boys came back out and did "Car" and then a sweet 20-minute "Virginia Reel Around the Fountain." Wow. What a show. See?? "Car". I heard it twice, they play it.
Another interesting note was that from my perspective, the 9:30 was sounding better than usual. I'm not sure if they made some changes, but damn, the sound was tops. Good for them. Glad to see those $6 beers are going to something useful!
So, if you have the chance, go see BTS. You won't be disappointed. Unless indie jam bands with intelligent lyrics aren't your thing. Doug Martsch, the lead singer, also has some solid solo stuff. We went up and talked to him after the show. See, these guys ain't no fancy band with Cristal and all that crap. The picture above shows Doug taking down his own guitar setup after the show. He spent quite some time talking to anyone who was there. Great guy. I shook his hand AND got his guitar pick. Awwww yeah. I'll add that to the one I got from Vince Neil when he opened for Van Halen in 1990something and the one from the Goo Goo Dolls when they still rocked.