Before last Sunday’s Casbah show, fans traded stories about Built to Spill. The band used to play sets at random places while on the road; one time they descended upon a coffee shop in Amarillo, Texas. The owner didn’t know who Built to Spill were but let them play anyway.
Stories like this were overheard throughout the night and added a sense of mythic excitement to the evening. As great as it would be to have one of your favorite bands just show up and start playing at your local coffee shop, that isn’t likely to happen, well, ever.
But seeing Built to Spill at the small and intimate Casbah was the next best thing. In fact, Built to Spill played there two nights in a row, and sold out both nights. And based on discussions with fellow fans before the show, it became obvious that some very high standards were set for the night. As always, Built to Spill came through in a big way.
The set relied heavily on Built to Spill’s more poppy tunes, and for the most part, the songs drew evenly from the band’s seven studio albums. That said, even at its most upbeat, Built to Spill’s music is always heavy on guitars and psychedelia. They make the sort of music that draws you in with a great hook or lyric before launching into fluidly expansive instrumentals that swirl all around. Itâ€™s the kind of music thatâ€™s really easy to lose yourself in, and as Built to Spill got heavier and deeper into the set, thatâ€™s exactly what I did.
Between happier tracks like â€œFly Around My Pretty Little Missâ€ and â€œIn the Morningâ€, the band let its darker side out to play songs like â€œBroken Chairsâ€ and one of the many highlights of the evening, â€œI Would Hurt a Fly.â€ It was impressive to see the band switch gears so easily, and even more impressive that they played so tightly from their fifteen-year catalog of music. Built to Spill even played a cover of Blue Ã–yster Cultâ€™s â€œDon’t Fear the Reaper;â€ as a testament to how enthralled the audience was, not one single person asked for more cowbell.
With expectations met and then some, Built to Spill’s show ended and we were all reluctantly released from the psychedelic clutches of one of the best indie rock bands in the world. We left the Casbah doors that night with our own stories to tell.