Posted in music | pictures on January 3, 2011

photos by Chris Gersbeck

Guided By Voices

I'm starting to think Bob Pollard is some sort of miracle of modern science; a man capable of extreme alcohol/tobacco consumption, yet somehow able to give a flawless vocal performance. "Anybody got a joint?" Pollard asked a few songs in (someone from the crowd did in fact pass him one). The 53 year-old singer was swigging off a bottle of tequila most of the night and was practically incoherent between songs, but was shockingly able to hit every note and land every high kick on his own two feet. All this in a nearly three-hour New Year's Eve set from his band Guided by Voices that stretched past 1AM at Irving Plaza.

Former Cobra Verde and Guided By Voices guitarist Doug Gillard opened the show with full band in tow. Gillard's backup group held their own with a great set of songs that I'm certain any GBV fan could appreciate. Nada Surf's Matthew Caws made a special appearance for one song, but the real highlight of the set came aftger Gillard subtly suggested someone else join him on stage for their last song. Of course, this was the cue for Pollard to sing the post-classic lineup song "I Am A Tree" (which Gillard wrote), and halfway through the song, Pollard did just that. I don't think I was alone in hoping/predicting this would happen as soon as it was announced Doug Gillard was opening this show, and I was ecstatic when it did.

When I saw Guided By Voices at Terminal 5 back in November, I was impressed by how tight they sounded, especially considering how ridiculously lo-fi the recordings of these songs in particular are. This performance was no different. And much like that show, Tobin Sprout was again given the spotlight to sing three of GBV's most classic songs penned by the guitarist: "A Good Flying Bird", "Awful Bliss" and "14 Cheerleader Coldfront". There's something about this lineup that just seems so right. Forget that these songs are among Guided By Voices' most memorable and popular throughout their prolific catalog, the five of them seem to have great admiration for each other. The crowd was a different story. I witnessed two scuffles break out on the floor during the set and before GBV came out there was one fan vocally upset that his girlfriend was talking to a group of guys ten feet ahead of him. I guess this is what happens when emotions and champagne run high...

But leave it to a band like Guided By Voices to play a New Year's Eve show and totally miss the countdown at midnight. Despite several warnings that they were going to stop at midnight, it became apparent towards the end of "Exit Flagger" that, yeah, it was now 2011. It was definitely funny, but something tells me there were a few people who were a little confused. Either way, the band played for over another hour, returning for three encores (48 songs total), and ending with the appropriate "Don't Stop Now". Hopefully if you're a GBV fan you made it out to one of these New York-area shows, but something tells me this is not the last we'll see of this lineup.

They also played Maxwell's in Hoboken one night earlier. Both setlists and more pictures from the NYC show, below...

Doug Gillard
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Guided by Voices

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Guided by Voices - Weed King @ Irving Plaza, 12/31/10

Guided By Voices LIVE - Queen of Cans & Jars (New Year's Eve Show - Irving Plaza, New York City)

GUIDED BY VOICES @ MAXWELL'S 12/30/10 Setlist:
Over the Neptune / Mesh Gear Fox
#2 in the Model Home Series
Echos Myron
Break Even
Shocker in Gloomtown
Tractor Rape Chain
Expecting Brainchild
Pimple Zoo
Closer You Are
Sad If I Lost It
A Good Flying Bird
My Valuable Hunting Knife
Cut-Out Witch
Buzzards and Dreadful Crows
Striped White Jets
Kicker of Elves
Gold Star for Robot Boy
Wondering Boy Poet
Awful Bliss
14 Cheerleader Coldfront
Watch Me Jumpstart
Melted Pat
Atom Eyes
Goldheart Mountaintop Queen Directory
Queen of Cans and Jars
Game of Pricks
Gleemer
Johnny Appleseed
Weed King
Exit Flagger
My Son Cool
Unleashed! The Large-Hearted Boy
Motor Away

Squirmish Frontal Room
Lethargy
Dodging Invisible Rays
Bright Paper Werewolves
Smothered in Hugs
Postal Blowfish

Jar of Cardinals
Quality of Armor
I Am A Scientist
A Salty Salute
Matter Eater Lad
Some Drilling Implied
Don't Stop Now

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GUIDED BY VOICES @ IRVING PLAZA 12/31/10 Setlist:
#2 in the Model Home Series
Over the Neptune / Mesh Gear Fox
Echos Myron
Break Even
Shocker in Gloomtown
Tractor Rape Chain
Expecting Brainchild
Pimple Zoo
Closer You Are
Sad If I Lost It
A Good Flying Bird
My Valuable Hunting Knife
Cut-Out Witch
Buzzards and Dreadful Crows
Striped White Jets
Kicker of Elves
Gold Star for Robot Boy
Wondering Boy Poet
Awful Bliss
14 Cheerleader Coldfront
Jane of the Waking Universe
Watch Me Jumpstart
Melted Pat
Atom Eyes
Goldheart Mountaintop Queen Directory
My Impression Now
Queen of Cans and Jars
Hot Freaks
Game of Pricks
Gleemer
Exit Flagger
Johnny Appleseed
Weed King
My Son Cool
Unleashed! The Large-Hearted Boy
Motor Away

Squirmish Frontal Room
Lethargy
Dodging Invisible Rays
Bright Paper Werewolves
Smothered in Hugs

Postal Blowfish
Quality of Armor
I Am A Scientist

A Salty Salute
Matter Eater Lad
Some Drilling Implied
Don't Stop Now

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Comments (40)

Both absolutely unreal shows. What a way to end the year!

Posted by citybug | January 3, 2011 10:27 AM

Proof They Will Return:

Roadies' badges had the GBV logo with "World Domination 2011"

Wow, doesn't that have connotations...

Posted by citybug | January 3, 2011 10:30 AM

Guided By Voices is like the Grateful Dead of the indie rock world. Keep those hits coming, boys!

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 10:34 AM

I like GBV a lot but it's a sad sad state of affairs for the music industry when some of the best shows of the year are by a bunch of 50 year olds. Alas I guess the kids really have given up making music for tech careers or some other such endeavor as there are very few new acts putting on shows of this caliber.

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 10:36 AM

10:34... Amen! I remember Bob screaming "WE HAVE MORE HITS THAN THE FUCKING BEATLES"

Posted by citybug | January 3, 2011 10:38 AM

my favorite Bob comment of the night, after playing Striped White Jets, "that is a good fucking song, I must say!

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 10:40 AM

only 46 songs played at Maxwells
Take note Lauryn Hill

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 10:43 AM

"I come to New York maybe four or five times a year... to eat... and get hammered. You can go into any deli and get a delicious sandwich - only thing is that lettuce and tomato is an extra forty cents."

About New Yorkers: "My mother always asked, how are those fucking people. I said they are fucking good people. Everyone's fucking good people."

Posted by citybug | January 3, 2011 10:49 AM

"FUCK... IT'S SMOTHERED IN MOTHERFUCKING COCKSUCKING HUGS!"

Man, Bob was so on last night, so many memorable phrases and sentences.

Oh yes, new name for an album...
"Under the Bushes, Under the Stars, Under the Tables, Under the Bars"

Posted by citybug | January 3, 2011 10:58 AM

agreed citybug, no other band can play 48 songs and keep the place packed the entire night like they did

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 11:01 AM

Pimple Zoo Bitches!!!!

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 11:02 AM

Gotta tell ya: I was totally wary of seeing them. But I went to the Maxwell's show and damn damn damn, they were outrageously amazing. Bob's voice especially—he STILL hits the fuckin' high notes, and he don't stop! Out of the probably 20 times I've seen them since 1994, the Maxwell's show was totally in the top 5 all-time. TRIPLE RECORD in 2011!! LET'S GOOOOO!!!!

Posted by soysalami | January 3, 2011 11:14 AM

I asked the merch girl and they said they have a show in Louisville, KY and somewhere in TN comfirmed for this month....


let's hope they come back to NYC in 2011:)

Posted by Jonny Greenwood is the man | January 3, 2011 11:26 AM

yeah, I saw the Nashville date later this month, hoping for another NYC date as well!

Posted by chris g | January 3, 2011 11:32 AM

Zzzzzz

Any Metal posts today?

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 11:34 AM

Maxwell's was one of the best show's I've ever fucking seen! about 98% of new bands should just retire because they will never be that good.

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 11:38 AM

Not worth $75

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 11:54 AM

MEH valuable hunting knife

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 11:54 AM

I'm not familiar with this band, but it seems that good times were had by all. Kudos to you all.

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 12:00 PM

the fucking greatest. so glad they did this tour

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 12:08 PM

i believe he said "kick-ass sandwich".

Posted by milpool | January 3, 2011 12:12 PM

oh, and it was worth EVERY FUCKING PENNY!

Posted by milpool | January 3, 2011 12:14 PM

Had tickets for both and came down with the flu...

Im thinking it probably should've just killed me instead of left me alive to view these photos

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 12:25 PM

if you say this was "not worth $75", you obviously weren't there.

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 12:58 PM

Both shows were worth the money. That Maxwells show was one of the most real rock shows especially for Guided by Voices. Had myself a swig of Bob's Cuervo and Bob blowing pot smoke in our faces. if you went to the shows, you damn well know they were worth the money.

Posted by citybug | January 3, 2011 3:06 PM

gbv!!!!

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 3:29 PM

The last pic is my friends and I on the balcony!! Great gig! Viva la GBV!

Posted by leelee | January 3, 2011 3:57 PM

Won't speak for the Irving Plaza show. But, to be one of 200 people at Maxwell's (where somehow the sound was better than it has ever been) to see this incredible show, $75 was a motherfuckin' bargain for 2 hours of total power rock pop dominance by GbV.

Posted by soysalami | January 3, 2011 4:12 PM

yeah, i know you guys hate when folks say it on here, but my god, the irving show was really one of the best shows i've ever been to.

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 6:57 PM

mitchy overalls is retarded. he had to bring it down at the irving show by asking for coke. what a dick. besides that, it friggnin ruled.

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 8:23 PM

who cares if he asked for coke? who really cares what mitch has to say anyway? he's a ham for sure, but he didn't bring anything down (not even sure what that means). the music totally spoke for itself.

greatest. show. ever.

Posted by Anonymous | January 3, 2011 10:50 PM

who cares about the music "industry" like some half-wit mentioned above?

Posted by spacejace | January 3, 2011 11:45 PM

ever since the show, I have been attemtping in vain to make the ultimate GBV playlist. i'm up to 48 songs, but with each new day I remember others. it's killing me. like Bob said, they've been making shitty EPs that only have 1 hit each, so those fuckers are hard to find.

Posted by grodule | January 5, 2011 12:04 AM

I got to see both of these shows and they really were both incredible.

I've been going to Maxwell's since I was in high school and GBV's set that night was perhaps the best performance I've ever seen there!

Thanks Uncle Bob!

Posted by Anonymous | January 5, 2011 1:42 AM

Went to both of these shows and Terminal 5 in November. So freakin' amazing. GBV! GBV!! Check out my clips from Maxwell's at Blearyeyedbrooklyn(dot)com

Posted by Blearyeyedbrooklyn | January 5, 2011 11:53 AM

now respectfully awaiting the tobias/gillard/farley/macphearson lineup reunion

Posted by Anonymous | January 5, 2011 10:49 PM

^ t'won't happen

Posted by Anonymous | January 6, 2011 10:59 AM

I think they should add Doug Gillard to the classic lineup and have a BOC-style 3-guitar lineup.

Posted by Anonymous | January 6, 2011 11:13 AM

bob pollard with a cowbell is a horrifying image

Posted by Anonymous | January 6, 2011 11:29 AM

Mitch Mitchell is a rock god!

Posted by Anonymous | January 7, 2011 7:26 PM

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