* Before we get started recapping the night’s events, a caveat: A lot of domestics were downed — By the band, by the crowd, and by myself. That’s what happens at a Guided by Voices show. Beers are raised in the air. The crowd sings along to the next anthem. Those beers are downed. Repeat. I left the night with a blank notebook and I met the next morning with a headache.
* The night’s venue — Outland on Liberty — was interesting. Outside there was a mini Eiffel Tower sitting in the middle of a small patio. Inside, the first thing you noticed in this dimly lit space was the stripper stage with the mirrored platform and glitter and lights, and the walls decorated with crosses and mannequin pieces. Someone said the place doubles as a goth club. My money’s still on strip club.
* The band didn’t play on the stripper stage, although it would have been cool if they had performed on the stripper stage with strippers. I have a feeling Mitch Mitchell and Robert Pollard would have enjoyed that. Instead, they were in an adjoining room which looked a lot more like your every day rock venue.
* Two weeks into the tour, the lineup of Pollard, Tobin Sprout, Greg Demos, Mitch Mitchell and Kevin Fennel are still looking spry. It wasn’t like the Rolling Stones at the half time of the Super Bowl, looking and sounding like a shell of their former selves. No, this was a veteran rock band, playing with vigor — Pollard with his array of rock kicks and Mitchell with his Townsend-like guitar windmills.
* The band sounded tight, too and tight isn’t a word one would usually associate with Guided by Voices. In the past, some have compared their shows to those of the Replacements — They could be brilliant one night and brilliantly drunk the next. This night they were brilliant.
* With such a massive back catalog (Even the period covered on this tour — 92 through 96, or Propeller through Under the Bushes Under the Stars — contains hundreds of songs) and the obsessive nature of GBV fans to know it all, it’s difficult to say which tracks stood out. In my mind, or what my mind can remember, these tracks were the top jams of the night: “Motor Away,” “I am a Scientist,” “Exit Flagger,” “My Valuable Hunting Knife,” “Game of Pricks,” “Tractor Rape Chain,” “Smothered in Hugs,” “Don’t Stop Now,” “A Salty Salute,” “Postal Blowfish,” “Goldheart Mountaintop Queen Directory,” and “Johnny Appleseed.”
* Prior to the GBV set, Pollard joined the opener, Nick Mitchell, who played all GBV/Robert Pollard/Boston Spaceships songs on his electric guitar, for Do the Collapse’s “Teenage FBI.”
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