Built to Spill Live: Go Back to the Phish Concert

Built to Spill, last week at the Fonda, was awesome. Here at bLA we gave away a few pairs of tickets, and I went to check out the show.

It was brilliant.

BTS always has had good shows, as long as I can remember. If you can steel yourself, beforehand, for long jam sessions that draw out a good, cinematic, lush song into a ten-minute monster. I’ve been at BTS shows before where songs dragged on so long, literal shoegazed drones and loops, that I wanted to yell DOUG YOU ARE AN ASSHOLE very loudly across the crowd. Of course, I never did.

Last week’s show, though, was perfect. The music can only be described as lavish, operatic. Creepy-cute artwork projected upon the rear wall underlined their darkly-lit sound. There was just one problem: “Where are you?” a friend texted me from somewhere in the crowd. “Back by the knot of WOOing frat boys” I texted back.

“Which one?” he replied.

It was true. Oh my god. I’ve never seen so many yahoos at an indie-rock show in my life. The frat boys and the hippie chicks with pinned eyes rippling their hands through the air, massaging what I’m sure was a vibrant tangible rainbow of colors in front of them that then began to speak to them about the meaning of life as Built To Spill’s soundtrack poured out from behind the opaque air that reeked of weed. They also would not stop WOOOOOOOing. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE when a crowd loves a band–when it’s loud, when it’s responsive, when a conversation comes up between crowd-as-entity and the band. I don’t even really care if people enjoy their smokables, as long as it’s not choking me (not my bag, baby). But don’t make it impossible to hear the music. Don’t WOOO really loud in my ear, hippie chick with the crocheted cape. Don’t give your little girlfriend that tab of E, mister older frat guy, right in front of me: seriously, it was right in front of my face. It’s just…tacky.

Spun-out hippies and frat boys: please to STFU and dose/smoke yourselves outside. Thanks much.

Oh, also. Whatever company is in charge of the security at the Fonda, they have cracked the hell down. Like, Palladium-stylee, yo. People are patted down regularly, boys more often that girls, of course. No gum. No cameras. No water. Um…and a bunch of other things I forget.

My advice? Large, roomy, comfortable BOOTS. wink wink.

3 thoughts on “Built to Spill Live: Go Back to the Phish Concert”

  1. nice. glad somebody wrote a review of this show. You are spot on with the fratty crowd.

    i strongly disagree with you about the song length issue. can’t believe you got aggravated by a long song. do you really think they sound like Phish? I don’t. That’s why people go to a BTS show–for the guitars!

    the show was excellent.

  2. You need a che-ez snap…cheap ass toy camera that no one takes seriously. EVER. I get more fun crap out of places I shouldn’t with it.

  3. GM–OMG, NO! I don’t think they sound like Phish at all. In fact, Built To Spill has a very unique sound. It’s the audience that needs to go back to twirly dancing at the Phish concert.

    They did do some extended versions of their songs at this show and I really enjoyed it. But when they’ve stuck on noodling drones at prior shows for about ten, fifteen minutes, I’ve felt a little bored. Gotta admit it.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love that stuff–the long format–Mogwai, Unwound, Juno, Slint. But in the past it’s been excessive. Not with this show, however.

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