Built to Spill
with Hop Along
with Hop Along
It's a pretty simple - if Built to Spill comes to town, I go. It doesn't even require any thought, the ticket just gets bought the second I see them available for sale. God knows how many times I've seen them at this point, but I never leave one of their gigs disappointed. I'm not sure if it's the first time I've seen the band as a trio, but it's definitely been a long time - since the early days when Scott Plouf and Brett Nelson first started playing with Doug Martsch, back when his plan was to have a different rhythm section every record (this didn't last long). These days it's the pair of young dudes that have been touring with him the last few times Built to Spill came to town, and they do a fine job. I did miss (occasional touring guitarist/Caustic Resin founder/all around rad dude) Brett Netson's added guitar playing though - luckily, if anyone can hold down all of the Built to Spill guitar parts by himself, it's Doug. I mean, he did write them.
The first third (or so) of Built to Spill's set was dominated by this couple standing next to me rubbing on each other constantly. I don't mean off-and-on either - for the entire 30-45 minutes they were next to me, the movement and rubbing was constant, like a sack full of dry eels. This would have been less of an issue had the Cradle not been so packed, and I wasn't pressed right up next to them, thereby encountering unwanted accidental rubbing myself. Ick. Eventually one or both of them likely climaxed and moved elsewhere, and things got a whole lot better, or at least more comfortable, from there on out. Doug, personable as always, almost never spoke to the crowd even when he was tuning his guitar...the occasional "thanks" counted as a verbal outburst. Tons of classics in their set: "The Plan," "Hurt a Fly," "Reasons," "Kicked It in the Sun," "Big Dipper," "Carry the Zero," "Car" plus one of the best songs from their newer material "Hindsight," and their cover this time (there's always at least one cover) was the Creedence Clearwater Revival track "Effigy" - a song that sounds so much like something Doug would write that I'm sure some of the younger folks in the crowd who might not have been familiar with the original probably didn't bat an eye, thinking it was just a new Built to Spill tune.
Typically, the openers for Built to Spill shows are Boise/Idaho acts that are friends with the band. Also typically, I never get to the show in time to see these openers, which bit me in the ass this time. The band was called Hop Along, are apparently from Philly and putting out records on Saddle Creek, and like so many of the kids these days, are doing their damnedest to reinterpret the sounds of the nineties for a modern audience. The crowd seemed way into it, so much so that it's possible a chunk of them might have been there primarily to see Hop Along, not Built to Spill. I'm not sure what an apt comparison would be, maybe Dinosaur Jr meets Courtney Barnett, or at least something in that general ballpark. If they come back again I'll try to see more than two songs.