SXSW Review: Built To Spill, March 17, Cedar Street Courtyard


The Panic Manual is a model of inefficiency. Case in point: the last day of our annual trek to Austin found the entire four man Panic Manual crew (2 writers and 2 photographers) stationed at Cedar Street Courtyard to check out Built To Spill’s final set of the week. A bit redundant of us perhaps, especially considering that only two of us had any real familiarity with the band, but it’s a cool little venue and they’re a great band, so why not?

And so, after the bartender mixed us perhaps the best mojito I’ve ever tasted, we were primed and ready to take in some Built To Spill. There was a fair number of fans in attendance (I overheard one guy standing next to me saying he had seen every set they’d played at SXSW this year) who knew exactly what they were in for: Doug Martsch and co. working their way through some intricate, extended guitar jams.  Songs like “Strange” and “You Were Right” (with it’s classic rock quoting lyrics) sounded great and not at all like the band were worn out from playing shows all week.

Then again, maybe they were a bit weary.  It’s kind of hard to tell.  I mean, Martch’s voice has always been a bit weary sounding and it’s not as if the band’s ever been known to do that much jumping around onstage or anything.  Still, even if they weren’t necesssarily super energetic, it was still a solid set by the band and a nice reintroduction to them.  Apparently, the band is currently working on a new album.  No word on when it’s likely to arrive, but I’m certainly looking forward to it.

Posted on by Paul in South By Southwest