Built to Spill, Dinosaur Jr., and the Meat Puppets

A Meat Puppets, Dinosaur Jr., Built to Spill lineup may well have appeared on countless “dream bill” lists compiled by music nerds of all kinds, making last night’s 90’s throwback just, wow. Fresh from having done so for the ATP festival, BTS were there to perform their orgasmic 1997 album Perfect From Now On, whose complex, guitar driven gems certainly make appearances at shows but never dominate the set. Too loyal a fan and obsessed with this album in particular to be dismayed by the cringe-worthy Terminal 5, I mashed my way into the front rows early on and quickly forgot all location concerns. It seemed the order of players was interchangeable as devoted fans rocked out to the three classic groups as if they’d been waiting for this evening for their whole (post elementary school) lives. Though, there were a whole lot of teeny-boppers in the crowd and after pondering for a moment how on earth they’d come to be here, I realized it was excellent that the young truly appreciated rock. But I was a bit thrown off by the drunken 15-year-old next to me who kept screaming “I love you Doug” and lurching around while explaining to her friend how much she loved these guys. High school must be fun for her.

Doug Martsch and the other BTS’ers didn’t appear to be particularly hyped about the whole affair, but these aren’t a bunch known for their outgoing demeanors. The transitions from song to song weren’t smooth or calculated, but each number was played true to form and at full intensity, which is saying a lot given the three guitar parts and shifting tempos. Engaging performers or not, it was all about the music, which I don’t need to say twice was fantastic. A special treat was the inclusion of a live cello and piano player to render the album’s orchestrated parts, and through unexplainable, relentless crowd hollering in his favor (“We love the cello!”, “I love you cello!”), this guy stared at Doug and the others as he drank it all in, beaming and mouthing the lyrics. After completing Perfect From Now On, they immediately launched into You In Reverse’s “Goin’ Against Your Mind,” followed by an encore of “Car” and “Virginia Reel Around The Fountain” off the Halo Bender’s The Rebels Not In. This surprising treat soon became an extended crazy jamout with members of the first two bands skipping onto the stage to join the fun. Instruments were traded, extra sets of drums sticks were utilized, and 90’s rock geeks were delivered their aforementioned soiled panties. My ears are still ringing…but with joy.

Most photos by Colin Colfer

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