Meat Puppets, Dinosaur Jr, and Built to Spill at the Orpheum, September 27, 2008
MONO MAN Martsch never changed his Strat.
The problem with these “play your most revered album in full” shows that everyone from Public Enemy to Liz Phair is doing lately is that the correct answer is not always a no-brainer. Take Built To Spill, who were in town on Saturday to play 1997’s Perfect from Now On in its entirety at the Orpheum. What about There’s Nothing Wrong with Love (1994)? Or even Keep It like a Secret (1999)? No offense, ever-trusty, mid-tempo PFNO, but why you?
MORE PHOTOS: Built to Spill at the Orpheum
It helped that BTS had legendary support. The Meat Puppets, opening things up, kept things efficient — Curt Kirkwood didn’t even so much as thank the audience until the end. They stuck mostly to country-tinged punk songs off II and Up on the Sun, among them a semi-coherent take on “Lake of Fire” in which Cris Kirkwood replaced the lyrics with nonsense melodic syllables — maybe they’re a little sick of that one.
A slightly chattier Dinosaur Jr. were next — turns out it was Lou Barlow’s first time playing the Orpheum. Their set drew as much from last year’s Beyond as from early classics Bug and You’re Living All Over Me. They even threw in three tracks from the period when Lou wasn’t in the band — a criminally underappreciated era. “Out There,” “The Wagon,” and “Feel The Pain” are all pretty great. But every time the set started to pick up momentum, a five-minute J Mascis guitar solo would kill it. They closed with their cover of “Just like Heaven”; its abrupt ending was a relief.
PFNO sounded great, and surprisingly fresh: the intensity of “I Would Hurt a Fly,” the beauty of “Kicked in the Sun,” the rousing rhythm and melody of “Untrustable.” Only “Velvet Waltz” seemed to drag, but that’s the case on the album, too. One problem: frontman Doug Martsch kept the same red Strat slung over his shoulder for the entire set, and that meant several awkward minutes of silence between songs as he tuned and retuned. PFNO has just eight songs, so BTS treated the room to some “bonus tracks” including “Car,” from There’s Nothing Wrong with Love, which scored the biggest crowd reaction of the entire night. Maybe they should have done TNWWL in its entirety instead? Just saying.
: Live Reviews
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