Friday, February 15, 2013

Built to Spill, Finn Riggins and UUVVWWZ @ Neurolux (2/12/13)

Shocking as this may be, I'd never seen Built to Spill before.  I know--I'm pretty sure there's a law against that in Boise if not Idaho as a whole.  Anyway, this show gave me a chance to correct that egregious error.

I did a quick headcount when I arrived at Neurolux and came up with about a hundred and forty people.  I don't know exactly how many people were there when Built to Spill played, although I heard that the show sold out.  I can say that the crowd was about the size you'd expect for Idaho's most renowned export besides potatoes.  (Sigh... Yeah, and Youth Lagoon.)

UUVVWWZ from Lincoln, Nebraska opened the night.  I only caught the tail end of their set, but what I heard didn't sound bad at all.  Jerky rhythms, discordant tunes and riffs, playfully yelped vocals--what's not to like?  Stuff was like candy for a guy who has listened to Richard Hell, Gang of Four and the Minutemen as much as I have.

Finn Riggins played next.  They seemed to be in a good mood as they joked around with themselves and the crowd during soundcheck (I got a chuckle out of seeing Lori Shandro mock-flash her tits at Lisa Simpson).  Those high spirits could have fed into the ebullient assurance of their performance.  They raved up, grooved out and mixed some screeching distortion in with their irresistible tunes without stumbling in the slightest.  It seemed to take the crowd a little while to get warmed up (maybe they wanted to save their energy for the headliner), but they gave the band some suitably loud applause at the end.

Built to Spill closed out the night with a set that justified the love that this town has shown them over the years.  Their setlist ran the gamut from Ultimate Alternative Wavers' "Revolution" to There Is No Enemy's "Pat" (nice touch: Brett Netson wore a State of Confusion T-shirt with a dedication to Pat Schmaljohn on the back).  It also included covers of Bob Dylan's "Jokerman," Captain Beefheart's "Abba Zabba" and Blue Oyster Cult's "Don't Fear the Reaper" (which featured Finn Riggins' Cameron Bouiss on cowbell).  Throughout, Doug Martsch pushed out the charming, idiosyncratic tunes with his light, limited, friendly tenor and traded lyrical, scorching solos with Netson.  Meanwhile, the gliding basslines and muscular drums kept the music from feeling too top-heavy.  The crowd roared, bubbled, swayed, headbanged and sang along.

Hmm.  So that's what everybody's been talking about.  Pretty neat.

You can find info on these groups on Facebook and elsewhere online.  Special thanks to Eric Gilbert.

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