Sahan Jayasuriya

Built to Spill carry the zero to Turner Hall Ballroom

With a new lineup on board, Boise ID's Built to Spill make their return to Milwaukee.

By - Nov 15th, 2013 10:35 am


You’ve probably noticed that ’90s indie rock has been making quite the comeback as of late. Seems like everyone’s referencing Dinosaur Jr and singing just slightly out of key these days. Young new acts like Yuck and Pity Sex are taking these influences and making 2013 look like 1993. On the other side, 120 Minutes darlings like Sebadoh are reforming and releasing new albums for the first time in over a decade.

While I’m always excited for new material from old favorites,  it almost always feels different. I can hear them trying to pick up where they left off, but not quite achieving it, and the records sound forced.

Not everyone can have the track record of a band like Sonic Youth, where it’s relatively easy to draw lines from one record to the next. Boise’s Built to Spill can, though. They return to Milwaukee this Friday, appearing at Turner Hall Ballroom.

Built to Spill have firmly claimed their spot as a mainstay of modern indie rock. They’ve somehow managed to exist on a major label for nearly 20 years without an overwhelming amount of mainstream commercial success while also maintaining creative control over their output.

The group fits in nicely next to acts like Pavement and Modest Mouse, but have never been afraid to show their love of classic rock either, and often flirt with the elements of a jam band. This was already evident on their 1997 breakthrough album Perfect From Now On; now it’s most apparent in the band’s live shows, which find the band using the songs’ recorded forms as mere blueprints for something much more intricate and expressive. They’re infamous for responding to the cliche heckler request for “Free Bird” by agreeing to it, playing the ten minute song in its entirety. Sure, it’s the ultimate middle finger response to an otherwise unfunny joke, but at the same time, I feel like the band enjoys it (previously, the band has also covered Neil Young’s “Cortez the Killer” in their live sets, turning the song into a 20-minute lesson in guitar leads).

Interestingly enough, the band aren’t touring on a new album, their last release being 2009’s There is No Enemy. It’s not often that you find an established band touring with no specific promotional agenda, so let’s hope that they cover a lot of their catalog at Turner Hall, and maybe play a few new tunes here and there. Either way, if you’re that clever individual who’s into yelling for “Free Bird”, you’ll get what’s coming to you.

Built To Spill will be appearing at Turner Hall Ballroom Friday November 15. Tickets are still available and can be purchased here.

Categories: Music, Rock

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