Monday October 19th, 1998 at The Bottleneck, Lawrence KS

Built to Spill, Sleater-Kinney, 764-HERO

I was so worried this show would sell out. I thought with three great bands at the tiny little Bottleneck, there was no way we were going to get tickets at the door. I was about to kick myself for waiting so long but after making a call or two around town it sounded like tickets were still available so Vanessa and I hoped in the Taurus (which is pretty much the Bottleneck transporter now a days) and headed over at about 6:30.

On the way over Vanessa dumped a load on me saying she wanted to move to Lawrence so looks like we're moving. That will suck during the daily commute into the city for work, but on the bright side, it'll double the number of shows I can see at the Bottleneck.

We popped into the club a little before 7:30 during 764-HERO's soundcheck. Nessa spotted Corin and got a little weak in the knees but she didn't dare say anything to her. We got our $8 tickets at the bar and then went out in search of dinner. Z-Teca sucks btw. Chipotle Grill is better (but partially owned by McDonalds) but neither compare to "Illegal Pete's" in Boulder or "Freebird's" in College Station, TX. Now you know.

We headed back into the club around 8:45 and nabbed our normal booth. Once we move to Lawrence I'm sure they'll put a plaque up there for us. Of course it was really boring waiting around so Nessa ran to Borders to buy a couple of books so she'd have something to read. I thought ahead and brought my Adobe Premiere manual. So I'm a geek, sue me.

764-HERO took the stage at 9:30 with little fanfare. There was a slight introduction and then off then went. I love "We're Solids" lotta but I had never seen 'em live before. They didn't disappoint. James (Lync/Built to Spill/Red Stars Theory) is a great dancer and a great addition to the former duo. His bass lines were incredibly well constructed and wound through their dynamic shoe-gazing indie rock wonderfully. This also has allowed John to do more inventive guitar work and he frequently crashed into noisy, repetitive chaos. This also is wonderful. Polly sat back on the drums and played politely and silently, even taking an opportunity during a long guitar intro to light up a cigarette and do a little stretching. The 30+ minute set was keen and even though the 125 or so folks in the club may not have been there to see them, they got a good show just the same.

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Almost immediately Sleater-Kinney took the stage and began setting up which turned the attention of about 200 people to the stage. Generally grrls up front from bull dykes, to cute little grrls with their boyfriends, to riot grrls, most with cameras and talking about their zines, the first time they heard S-K or how cute Corin is. Again I hadn't seen S-K live and didn't know what kind of show to expect. The band simply kicked ass. So very powerful. S-K's two guitar attack is mind blowing as the guitars are often playing what seem like entirely different songs that come together wonderfully, other times you'll swear their is a keyboard up there as the melodies come float out of Corin's Ibanez over Carrie's turbo-charged Rickenbacher. It's perfect pop with the perfect bite and the ultimate adrenaline provided largely by the rocket-fueled drumming of the new kid, Janet. Carrie was a dancing fool and the crowd was 100% into it. I left my up-front position and ducked around to the side of the stage and saw neatest thing - all the grrls in the audience were up front, dancing and singing. I'm used to seeing the grrls at emo shows sing along to Chamberlain or The Get Up Kids or other sensitive emo rockers but this was different. S-K was their own and they knew it. They played both old songs (though nothing from Corin's pre-Kinney days) and new ones from the upcoming album for a little over an hour before handing the stage (and the communal drum kit) over to Built to Spill.

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I came back to the booth for a while knowing there was no way in hell I'd get back up for Built to Spill. At 11:30 Doug marched up on stage (looking more like your uncle than a rock star) and as predicted the full 250 or so people in the club pushed forward. Being the crafty sort I was able to move right up and sit on the side of the stage just a foot or three from Brett and his loud bass cabinet. Midway through the first song I was joined by Corin and Janet on each side of me. Wow. I'm sure I'm a million people's photographs looking all important and connected now. Vanessa said she saw a few gals (herself included) duck out after S-K, but it seemed to me most everyone was happy to see BTS even if they didn't come specifically for them.

BTS ran through their 90 minute set stopping only to tune. Doug apologized once for not talking to the audience, explaining he wasn't elitist but rather a bad conversationalist. Instead of doing a big rock star encore, the band stopped once for a cigarette break (except from Scotty, who stopped for a coffee break - is he from Seattle or something?), which made me happy. Not knowing the full BTS catalog I can't tell you what they played but it really didn't matter. The band was so enigmatic. Doug is a guitar weasel genius combining both speed and skill with wonderful ingenuity and originality (a.k.a. he was using his wank powers for good, not evil). Vanessa thought all songs could have been shaved by 3 minutes if you took out his "soloing" but I enjoyed every feedback filled minute of it. You'd think Brett's basslines would then be dull as he had to tow the responsibility of keeping the band together but that wasn't the case at all. Instead he took the responsibility of rhythm guitar at those times playing interesting and lightning quick chords. The anchor then was left with Scotty (Spinanes) and he didn't drop the ball. The show was exhausting and exhilarating with both long songs that sucked you into BTS difficult pop world, and light moments such as their cover of Steve Miller's "Take the Money and Run". For me the moment of disbelief came during Vince Guaraldi's "Linus and Lucy" (a.k.a. "The Peanuts Song"). The band played it at twice speed and Doug still hit every note while playing with the tremolo bar as well. At one point in the song he had his right root on the volume/wah-wah pedal and his left on the switch for the effect processor at the same time. The man was walking on pedals for us!

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We actually stayed until the end of the show (mostly because Nessa couldn't get to me on stage when she was ready to leave). I forced Nessa into a quick photo of her and Corin then we headed back to Kansas City, only this time I timed it knowing I'll be making the drive twice a day soon.

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