Guided By Voices
April 30, 2016
Summit Music Hall, Denver, CO
Guided by Voices (GBV) is the Greatest Band Ever. That would be my honest review of how I feel about this Indie Rock band from Dayton, Ohio. This would be shared by former White House Press Secretary Jay Carney who has proclaimed the same during a 2012 White House Briefing (see bottom right) which, politics aside, is pretty fucking awesome. Bob Pollard, the bands front man, fearless leader, and only consistent member through their off and on tenure of 33 years has written quite a few songs in his day. Currently, he is at ~1,900 including 22 albums with GBV, solo material, Boston Spaceships, Ricked Wicky, etc….
GBV has a devoted following amongst their fans, and while I consider myself an enormous fan of the band (top 5 bands for me) and Bob Pollard, I have not even heard half of their material. This is both frustrating and encouraging because I know I will find gems of theirs for years to come. Simply put, no one can keep up with Bob Pollard’s output of music, even the biggest fans. I could write at length about what this band means to me, but I will focus on the amazing show they put on at The Summit Music Hall in Denver.
On an otherwise dark and rainy few days in Denver, Guided by Voices was definitely the highlight of a lot of people’s weekend. I saw GBV a few years back at RiotFest, it was amazing, but their boozy, fun, interactive shows are so much more suited for a small venue or even a dive bar. They fly through 2 minute pop songs taking breaks only to drink (which there is a lot of) or talk to the crowd. They played 50 songs total including some of my favorites: “Tractor Rape Chain”, “Fair Touching”, “Game of Pricks”, “Echos Myron”, “Cut-Out Witch”, “The Brides Have Hit The Glass”, “I Am A Scientist”, and their whole 6 song encore.
Bob Pollard is entertaining as hell live and has a great presence on stage. He has his signature high kicks, microphone swings, distinctive stance, and drunken monologues. He and the whole band drink throughout the show, a lot. In a scene (Indie Rock) which is often filled with pretentious bands, metrosexual hipsters, and Pitchfork snobbery, GBV is such a breath of fresh air. Like, I’d actually love to grab a beer with these guys and shoot the shit, they are just real people. Bob Pollard had a funny anecdote about how great of a value this show was compared to a band like the Rolling Stones who would cost ~$200. He got the crowd chanting “Fuck the Stones”, I love the Rolling Stones, but it was hilarious.
The energy grew as the show went on and they starting playing more songs from their Lo-Fi years (’92-’96) which includes their most popular material off of “Bee Thousand” and “Alien Lanes”. Sprinkled in, they covered The Who’s “Baba O’Riley” during their encore which people went crazy for. The crowd was drinking more, appreciating their classics, and way more into the second half of the show. They played some of my favorite songs and really were so much fun live. It’s one of those shows people just have smiles on their faces the whole time, and rightfully so. I look at Bob Pollard as my crazy drunk uncle and I mean that in the best way possible as he is one of the most prolific songwriters of our generation. They left the stage, as they usually do with the crowd chanting “GBV, GBV, GBV”.
Article By: Chris Beliveau