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Built to Spill Show Why They’re Still King

DETROIT: Iconic indie vets play a blazing set to an enthusiastic Motor City crowd.

Although most of the audience at Detroit’s St. Andrews Hall last night (July 16) were about half the age of Doug Martsch and his group of veteran musicians, they treated Built to Spill as if they were the hot new thing, cheering wildly as the first chords of each song were played, patiently shouting I love you while the band silently tuned their instruments, and singing along happily as Martsch and crew tore their way through a fifteen-track set spanning the band’s entire history. From 1993’s “Nowhere Nothin’ Fuckup” to 2006’s “Liar,” Built to Spill also ripped through a cover of Brian Eno’s “Third Uncle,” and a 20-minute encore version of “Broken Chairs.”

“Thank you for coming out, even though we were just here,” the frontman told the crowd, who applauded equally loudly after he acknowledged the opener, the Boggs — the Brooklyn five-piece that utilized two drummers and two singers to produce its sparse, energetic, hipster-ready rock — before launching into a foot-stomping rendition of “Time Trap.” But despite the adoration, Built to Spill didn’t rush off stage when the show ended, indulging in their success; instead, as the three distorted guitars finally faded out with bass and drums, the band began packing up their equipment like they had just finished playing their first house party, seemingly unaware of their own great stature, an act that just made their fans love them all the more.

We asked: What do you think happened between the 2001 release of the somewhat out-of-character Ancient Melodies of the Future to make Built to Spill return to their roots five years later with their latest long-player, You in Reverse?