In 2014, five guys played the Belly Up under the moniker of Guided by Voices. A pair of these musicians was present at this year’s show — Robert Pollard (singer) and Kevin March (drummer) — now joined by GBV alumnus Doug Gillard (lead guitar) and two new recruits, Bobby Bare Jr. (guitar) and Mark Shue (bass).
...off of Guided by Voices' Please Be Honest
The resulting performance was minimal on both sloppy drunkenness (a GBV trademark over the years) and actual GBV songs. Of the 53 songs performed, more than 20 were from either Robert Pollard side projects or solo albums — and eight were from the new Guided by Voices album, Please Be Honest, which is, since we’re being honest, kind of a Pollard solo album, since he is the only person that plays on it. The fact that the show wasn’t a march of “the hits” did allow some minor gems from Pollard’s songwriting catalog to get played live and loud. “Tabby and Lucy,” from Boston Spaceships’ 2011 album Let It Beard, was a standout with the beefed-up delivery, as was “Love Is Stronger than Witchcraft” from Pollard’s 2006 solo disc From a Compound Eye.
The show felt like a performance by an even more pro-level band than the version of GBV that toured from around 1999-2004. Doug Gillard’s contribution to this outfit can’t be understated, as his guitar wizardry is the jelly to Pollard’s peanut butter. He takes little moments such as the short, solo break in “The Official Ironman Rally Song” to propel a song from huge to YUUUUUUUUUUGE. The two freshmen are pros as well and seem to harness the unique super-power of being able to resist the tasty allure of alcoholic beverages while performing GBV songs live.
Even with Pollard taking it easy on the sauce and between-song banter, the show still stretched to well over two hours. People started dropping-off at about the 90-minute mark, but the die-hards that hung in there were treated to some tasty GBV nugs (“Motor Away,” “Don’t Stop Now,” “Teenage FBI”), which were sprinkled among two sets of encores. The night ended with their classic song “Baba O’Riley,” which Pete Townshend actually wrote.
- Artist: Guided By Voices
- Venue: Belly Up
- Date: August 17
- Seats: Floor