Built To Spill at Lee's Palace, Toronto (Photos and Review)
|12-Oct-2009 03:45 pm||Contributed by: pete||Concert Reviews|
Since I was lucky enough to see Built To Spill perform in Toronto back in 2007, their first visit to this city, I had a pretty good idea of what to expect for their recent two night sold-out stint at Lee's Palace: Loud, mind-bending guitar solos, great songs, and extended versions, but performed with a reasonably stationary stage show. What we got was pretty much exactly that, but one unknown aspect of any Built To Spill concert is which songs they will choose to play from their 16 years of albums.
For the first night of the two shows, the night I was there, the show opened with Oh Yeah, a track off of their new album There Is No Enemy that was released the very same day as the show (yet I'd be hard-pressed to call this show a CD release party). It was a lackluster start to the show, after which the band took a long pause, discussed a few things, and started to adjust their equipment. One audience member shouted at them to play music, and in response Brett Netson (guitar) announced "We're going to get it together". And demonstrated by the rendition of Center Of The Universe that followed, triggering a strong response from the crowd, the band did have it together. Even so, they took a very casual approach to their entire performance, taking long pauses between songs to have a refreshment, tune, chat, and/or meander around on stage a bit.
The set list continued with another new song, Planting Seeds, before an extended version of Time Trap from their absolutely brilliant 1999 album Keep It Like A Secret. They then headed back a few more years to 1994 to play us two songs from There's Nothing Wrong With Love. In fact, they played songs from throughout their career, not really favoring their new release. One new song that made a big impression was Hindsight with the lyric "What about Canada?" coaxing cheers from the crowd (oh, we are so easy). Hindsight ended up being the one song overlap between the set lists from the two nights (see Tuesday's set list vs. Wednesday's set list).
After each song, Doug Martsch (vocals, guitar) would respond to the wild applause with a quick, high-pitched "thanks", another aspect of their show that has remained constant since I saw them in 2007. We did get a few more words out of Martsch this time around, though, with some short discussion about shirts, images printed on said shirts (Kurt Vonnegut), and a smile in response to a request for him to perform a stage dive. I think this short interaction was the result of someone asking the band where the merch was, a valid question since there was no merch to be found... no shirts, no CDs, nothing. A bit odd, but there could have been many reasons; I've heard of bands not being permitted to take merch across the border, so perhaps it was something like that.
After a 12 song set that was emphasized with Martsch's right leg twitching uncontrollably to the final song Carry The Zero, another brilliant song from Keep It Like A Secret, they took a short break and returned to walk us through Car, You Were Right, and closing the night with the epic Goin' Against Your Mind. All three had fans in the crowd singing along, and the latter was a searing and lengthy version, but relatively short compared to the triple-dose strength version of Randy Described Eternity that they closed with back in 2007. I'm not sure what other fans were expecting or perceived, but for me it was an awesome collection of songs, played skillfully, from one of my favorite bands of the past ten years.
Info: Built To Spill | Connect: MySpace, Facebook
Media: Hindsight (mp3), Conventional Wisdom (video)
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