SXSW: Built To Spill and Oberhofer at Cedar Street

Built to Spill performs at Cedar Street Courtyard in Austin, Texas.

I don’t know about you, but when I looked at today’s schedule, I was not confronted with a whole lot that I wanted to see, at least in the afternoon.

I decided to hit Flatstock, the gallery of gig posters that’s at every SXSW. My home is plastered with the things and I wanted to check out what they had to offer. And, as always, I saw a lot of great stuff, but nothing I wanted to carry around with me all night long.

After checking in with Eric Nyffeler and Michael Nielsen of Lincoln’s Doe Eyed Design (they had a booth at the deal and were looking to do pretty well), I headed off to the Filter Magazine party at Cedar Street Courtyard where I’ve seen a lot of great bands at past SXSWs.

Oberhofer was there when I arrived. I’ve always been interested in the band, and they busted out a set of loud indie rock tunes. It was good, but not spectacular.

What followed was the main attraction for me: Built to Spill.

Doug Martsch – with a shorter beard than last I saw him – took the stage with his band in front of a packed crowd that was a strange mix of rock fans and St. Patrick’s Day revelers.

Built To Spill played a lot of songs newish and oldish and, to be sure, every one of them contained at least one slow guitar jam, in which Martsch seems to lose himself.

He’s a quiet frontman. He usually tunes his guitar in between songs and then they launch into another one. Sometimes, he’ll say something like “How y’all doin’?” or “Hey, thanks again y’all for comin’ out and listenin’.”

They had big reactions for “You Were Right,” “Strange” and an encore of “Carry the Zero” where lots of dudes in the crowd were singing along. My personal favorite was “Virginia Reel Around the Fountain,” which has a great groove.

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