Built to Spill- the Chameleon 7.27
Remember that episode of ‘Seinfeld’ when Jerry, Kramer, and Newman are in stake-out mode sitting in Jerry’s car, because they suspect their accountant has a drug problem? I’m still stuck in the ’90′s as far as television viewership is concerned, please forgive me. Anyway, the conversation eventually diminishes into Kramer and Newman debating about whether or not Tuesday has “a feel.” Newman declared Tuesday has no feel. Kramer disagreed, explaining that he feels Tuesday; although, I can’t quite remember the exact feeling he described. I will say that I must, as I often do, side with Kramer on this one. I feel Tuesday. It’s a foggy, dreary, strung out on coffee, wanna-sleep-in-but-I-gotta-go-to-work feeling–like the deepest, darkest shade of blue you’ve ever seen constantly pushing and pulling.
The good news is it doesn’t have to be. Well, at least not this coming Tuesday, July 27th, anyway. That is because Built to Spill will be gracing the stage at the Chameleon. Yes, Lancasterians should feel privileged that a band like Built to Spill still comes through town. Not just to check out scenery between big cities or to visit the Amish, but to actually stop and play a show! It is pretty unusual, as far as I know, for a band on a major label (BTS has been with Warner Brothers since 1995) to continue to make appearances in smaller cities like Lancaster. Perhaps it makes them feel more at home, since the band is based in mid-sized Boise, Idaho.
Built to Spill’s music, mostly ideas that oringinate in the brain of frontman Doug Martsch, has a great Northwestern spaciness to it. The perfect vibe for a road trip into the great unknown. Some aspects of the music are dreamy and floaty, while others are driving and aggressive. Normally a five-piece, the sounds are derived from a heavy emphasis on guitar riffs, some of which remind me of some sort of odd hybrid of early Modest Mouse and Smashing Pumpkins. The band has mastered the flow of unlikey notes and chord structures. The lyrics are always open to interpretation and delivered by Martsch in a voice that sounds like he could be the older brother of Les Claypool and Isaac Brock but with less shouting and a more melodic tonal glow. As the creator of the lyrics, Martsch feels that revealing the origins or meanings of his songs could potentially ruin an alternate interpretation that a listener might come up with. Basically, he doesn’t want to do the thinking for you, and I really appreciate that. I love music that makes me think, and Built to Spill certainly makes my neurons fire.
The band has been through a lot over the past twenty or so years. They’ve gone through a number of different line-up changes, lost one member to an early death, toured extensively within the country and outside of it, and created seven studio albums the latest being “There is No Enemy,” which was released in 2009, and it has been speculated to be their final album. That being said, you never know when they’ll come back to Lancaster again, so brighten up your Tuesday evening with a little Built to Spill in your life. Hopefully I’ll see you there.