Show: Guided By Voices
Venue: The Wiltern
Drinks: Two large Newcastles for close to $30.
Song I Most Wanted to Hear: I most wanted to hear "Tractor Rape Chain" and I was pretty sure I was going to get my wish. They played it three songs into the show. From that point on, my friend and I shouted for "Big Boring Wedding," although what I really wanted to hear was "Sometimes I Cry" from their early FOREVER SINCE BREAKFAST EP. For reasons of maintaining male integrity, I decided not to yell a request for "Sometimes I Cry."
Musical Disappointments: Times New Viking were opening band and all I knew of them was a faint memory of lo-fi noise in search of coherent melody; that's pretty much how their performance felt too. There was no disappointment when it came to Guided By Voices, except perhaps that they didn't do a third encore even though the crowd was really trying to make it happen.
How Was the Crowd: On the older side of crowds, similar to the crowd at the Hollywood Bowl when I saw Pavement/Sonic Youth last week. They were huge GBV fans and would shout the "GBV" chant at the drop of a hat and sang along to every song, even if it came from a fairly obscure EP.
Superficial/General Impression on Singer's Appearance: I couldn't see Pollard's surely weathered and beaten face but his hair was a dignified mop of gray and he could still out high-kick rockers half his age (if they wanted to high-kick).
Merch Table: For a band that built a lot of its early reputation on silk-screened limited runs of vinyl, the merch booth was surprisingly lacking in vinyl. I was of course hoping to score BEE THOUSAND on vinyl, even though I realized it was long out of print and selling for extravagant prices on Ebay. I ended up scoring only a Guided By Voices shirt, designed to parody the Coca Cola logo, with "Classic Lineup" written underneath and "Enjoy" across the shoulders. I guess I will just have to rob a bank in order to finance the purchase of BEE THOUSAND from Ebay.
Run-in's With the Bands: None.
Best Onstage Moment, Non-Musical: During the encore, after GBV dedicated a song to the "sweet LA pussy out there tonight" a girl climbed onstage and the roadie went to go escort her off stage but was waved off by the guitarist. What ensued was nothing less than a riot, as dozens of fans now felt the green light to jump on stage and hug a member of GBV as they tried to perform a song.
Best Onstage Chatter: Robert Pollard talked frankly about being a struggling pseudo band and creating the chant of "GBV" on their second album even though it was not actually much easier to say than "Guided By Voices." He said then that they had to give interviews and when asked to describe the sound of GBV live, he said "It's like running a marathon and at the side everyone's handing you cigarettes and shots and you pass out at the half mile mark." I knew what he meant, because this was the first show I've ever attended where the roadies would walk out to stage and light a cigarette to pass it off to the band. When Pollard walked out he complained that he'd left his cigarettes at the bar and so he wouldn't be smoking on stage tonight, when the the crowd threw numerous cigarettes by the pack onstage, he complained that he also left his money at the bar.
Did the Bass Player Look Bored?: Fuck. No. He played with a wide stance and numerous leg kicks and acid jumps. I'm pretty sure he learned how to rock by studying THIS IS SPINAL TAP.
Overall Scientific Rating of Show (out of ten): 8.7