Built to Spill | 08.26.12

BTSpill front_covMore than half of the crowd seemed to be there just to have something to do on a Sunday night before classes started.


builttospill sherrill

photo: Dawn Sherrill

The Blue Note, Columbia, Mo.

A Sunday night show is not typically one where you will find a lot of excitement. The bands are tired, the fans are tired, and everyone has work or school the next morning. In this way, Built to Spill’s show in Columbia on August 26 was not your normal show.

Having arrived at the show early enough to catch the opening acts, I was concerned that the rest of the evening might play out the way they did. While the openers left a lot to be desired, the problem was not necessarily the music, but the audience. Given that Columbia is a college town, you can usually expect to see a few people who have had more to drink than they should, but this evening brought out an exceptional amount of those individuals.

I had seen Built to Spill three other times in Columbia and had not been let down. The last time they were touring with fellow legends The Meat Puppets and continued to play well past the Blue Note’s turning on the lights and trying their best to get the audience to leave. Doug Martsch & Co. had always played with a sort of energy that I can’t say I have seen in many acts that have been touring as long as they have. They seem to love what they do and don’t want to stop, but on this particular night, they appeared subdued. Despite the level of creativity and dedication the band showed in turning most of their songs into seven- to ten-minute masterpieces, the atmosphere took so much away from the performance that I think even Built to Spill themselves were not enjoying their time on stage.

Starting with a few newer tracks, the band showcased much of their library in their performance, including an encore with a track from their debut record. All of the songs were performed with precision and brought a smile to my face, but it was difficult to truly enjoy the show with the atmosphere that was around you.

The drunken, young crowd detracted from any real presence. They screamed during breaks, began clapping at inappropriate times, and even attempted to crowd surf. During the encore, and individual crowd surfing actually managed to kick the mic while Martsch was singing, hitting it into his mouth. The individual still managed to get on stage, after which which security only kindly asked them to just step back down off the stage, rather than take appropriate action and remove them from the show. This was one of the hardest things to watch, honestly, as it was the first song of the encore, and it started out with such energy which was taken away in a matter of moments by someone who didn’t understand their boundaries.

It is a shame, really, that a band having so much history behind them was unable to really play the show that they deserved, and the actual fans were unable to get the show they expected. You could see the real fans in the crowd, the people who were there to see the group they had followed for years, but more than half of the crowd seemed to be there just to have something to do on a Sunday night before classes started.

I will see Built to Spill again, whenever I get the chance, but I don’t think I would want them to come at the same time of year again. I would like a summer show, when the students are gone, when the real fans will come and see them even, if they live in St. Louis or Kansas City or somewhere else in the vicinity. | Alex Hodschayan

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