Built to Spill not past their prime

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Photos by C. Michael Stewart


The swarm of 20 somethings that packed into Louisville’s Headliners Music Hall Saturday night proves Built To Spill, a band that popularized itself in the late 1990s indie-rock scene, still has what it takes to reach a new, young audience.

The graying beard and thinning hair of Doug Martsch, formerly of Treepeople, makes the band’s frontman appear more like a professor delivering a freshmen lecture than a guitar icon.

But Martsch didn’t command the young crowd by delivering an oratory from at a lectern. Instead he stepped onto the center of the stage, strapped on a fire engine red Fender Strat and taught a lesson to the new class.

As Built To Spill was introduced to the crowd as the most recent act in WFPKs Weekly Feed, shouts of “I love you Doug!” could be heard and the smell of burning pot filled the area below the stage.

The five-piece band opened the act with “Traces,” from the 2006 album “You in Reverse.”

Martsch and crew gently pulled the crowd into the show by beginning the song with calming, trance-like chords, then took their time elevating the energy of the song to a dynamic repetitive beat that left no doubt to those in the audience that the aging band members had arrived to put on rock show.

Built to Spill then reached back to 1994 to perform “In the Morning,” the first track of its second full-length studio album released 18 years ago. Martsch’s voice pleasantly floated over the upbeat track, making it easy to understand how the band is able to continue to draw fans to it shows, regardless that many of ticket holders were in diapers when the song was originally recorded.

Throughout the show, Martsch often performed with his eyes closed as he shook his head and arms spastically about while his fingers let notes fly from the neck of his guitar over the full sound of the band.


About hoosierhits
The music blog of the News and Tribune, Jeffersonville & New Albany, Ind.

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