Built to Spill packed the house at Culture Room last Saturday night, playing in its entirety, their classic 1999 album “Keep it Like a Secret”, which was their fourth full-length album of their eight album releases. Notably, this was their fifth show at Culture Room in approximately the past ten years. They were preceded by two indie rock opening bands, Prism Bitch and the Pauses.
You cannot help but notice Built to Spill’s distinct, intricate and methodological sound. Their guitar melodies move back and forth from being structured and systematic to weaving and tangled with abrupt disjointed changes, that somehow blend together in the end perfectly as a whole. Not many could pull off this complexity successfully, but Doug Martsch, the band’s lead singer/guitarist/songwriter, the backbone behind it all, has the talent to make it happen. Built to Spill has had a regular rotation of band members over the years, but Doug Martsch’s current members are Brazilian rockers João Luiz (guitarist), João Casaes (bassist) and Lê Almeida (drummer).
There is something unique about Doug Martsch. Throughout the show, he appeared totally centered and unmoved, introspective and almost meditative, yet you could still sense a strong energy. The reason for his demeanor became more clear after reading some of his past interviews. For him it has never been about gaining money or fame, he simply loves what he is doing, and the rest just followed naturally.
Interestingly, Doug Martsch pulled the lyrics for his song “You Were Right” from an assortment of cliché classic rock lyrics from bands including, David Bowie, the Doors, Bob Marley, Pink Floyd, the Rolling Stones, and Bob Dylan. Due to possible copyright issues, the song did not make it to the album until the very last minute when Warner Bros. Records finally secured permission for the band to use the lyrics.
Indie rock band Built to Spill was originally formed in the early ’90s in Boise, Idaho. They later spent some time as part of the ’90s Seattle music scene, coinciding with bands such as Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains and Nirvana among many others. Despite being involved in the Seattle scene, they always kept their own unique sound and have stood apart from the rest. Although they never made it to the level of “rock superstars”, they most certainly have had a considerable and solid long-term following made up of original fans from the ’90s, together with the many they have acquired along the way. They have continued to tour and have had a consistent release of new albums beginning in 1993 with their first album, “Ultimate Alternative Wavers”, through their most recent eighth album released in 2015, “Unteathered Moon”.