Looking like refugees from FX’s Sons of Anarchy, guitar sorcerers Built to Spill offered a near-two hour set, which focused on the band’s latest three albums. Only gems “Stab” and “In the Morning” represented the earlier part of their 21-year career.
Frontman Doug Martsch was not one for chit-chat; his addresses ranged from, “Thanks,” to, “Wow, thanks,” to, “Thanks so much.” His guitar did the talking, along with guitarists Brett Netson and Jim Roth. The latter two’s dual slide guitars on “Sidewalk” gave an idea of what it would sound like if Ry Cooder met Fugazi. The timeless feeling of nostalgia and melancholy in “Traces” and “Carry the Zero” played blissfully bipolar with the almost whimsical loopiness of “Conventional Wisdom” and “Else.” Newbie rhythm section Jason Albertini on bass and Steve Gere on drums helped the guitar summit move along smoothly to an all-cover encore featuring songs by the Smiths, the Clash and Blue Oyster Cult. ★★★★✩