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Built to Spill, Hyde Park Street Fair, Sept. 18


When you're as legendary a figure as Doug Martsch, it might be tempting to become apathetic toward playing another show in your hometown, in his case, Boise. Thankfully for us, that has never been the case.

On Friday night, Built to Spill took the stage with all the laid back gusto that makes Built to Spill be Built to Spill and is one of the reasons we love them. Watching Martsch jive around as he played, it was refreshing to see him still loving the moment of musical creation in his hometown and, for that matter, home neighborhood.

The crowd that gathered at Camel's Back Park was a different matter. Kudos to those with the foresight to grab a seat on the hill away from the madness. While most concert-goers were content just to enjoy the jams, other felt the need to express themselves more forcefully. Even Martsch suggested one point, "Careful. Don't slam dance each other to death."

It was easy to see that the Hyde Park Street Fair organizers hadn't expected such a chaotic mob to congregate. Crowd surfers repeatedly rode the human waves, with no bouncers to bring them down. At one point, no less than six girls rushed the stage before being booed off. Tie-dye clad organizers eventually intervened and apprehended another stage jumper, taking him away backstage. In the midst of it all, Martsch placidly changed a broken string on his guitar as a drunken reveler ran a loop around him.

Safely away from the fray, I sipped my 24 oz. Beck's and nodded along to the familiar tunes. Built to Spill's repertoire is like an old friend, and hearing them is a guaranteed musical high. Classics like "Big Dipper" had me smiling, while longer jam songs plotted the night on a wilder course. Part of the reason Built to Spill's music is so endearing is their knack for mixing familiarity with experimentation, keeping the end result unpredictable and ensuring the audience--and likely the band, too--are always in for a ride. It's an old Boise adage how lucky we are to have this band, but it invariably holds true time and time again.

Built to Spill has a new album, There Is No Enemy, due out Tuesday, Oct. 6. For tour dates, visit

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