Posted in music on July 14, 2014

by Klaus Kinski

Guided by Voices @ Iriving Plaza (photo via @klaus_kinski)
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On Friday (7/11), less than two months after playing Bowery Ballroom, Dayton OH senior rockers Guided By Voices roared into NYC once again, this time to lay a drunken lustre upon Irving Plaza. And, brother... it was a whopper.

This GBV experience ticked so many boxes on the Klaus Kinski Checklist of High-Maintenance Concert-Going Standards. I was pretty pooped from seeing Gorilla Biscuits the night before this show, so the first attribute of this phenomenal show had to be the timing; doors at 7pm, Crystal Stilts at 8, GBV from 9 - 11. Done. Anywho, I had seen opener Crystal Stilts somewhere before and I remember my previous feelings about them was that they were complete and total garbage. However, this time around they really really appealed to me. I am not sure what changed or what would cause my appraisal of them to do a complete 180, but I found their opening set on Friday night to be an incredible combination of filthy, reverberating guitars, driving beats and really tight, almost lethargic vocals. There was a certain level of gloom to their set, but it didn't reek of the melodramatic. Singer Brad Hargett's the epitome of anti-stage presence, but it doesn't come off as smug; it comes of more as "my voice in my instrument, so I am here to sing, not act like a numbskull for your entertainment." I thought from start to finish their set was a great representation of what works in their catalogue which has been growing in their 10+ years of existence.

After a brief intermission, GBV took the stage a hair after 9 PM to a not-sold-out crowd of about 1000 fans of all stripes. Remarkably, this was GBV's 18th Irving Plaza gig. Throughout their 2+ hour set, the entire band was in absolute top form. Even Greg Demos, who I admonished in my last post for being distractingly sloppy at their most recent Bowery gig, was in really great form. Drummer Kevin March, as usual, was the metronomic glue holding everything tightly together. And there were some moments when Pollard and guitarist Tobin Sprout unleashed some of the most wonderful two-part harmonies I've heard the band pull off in years.

GBV has put out 6 records since they reunited as the classic line-up and the setlist borrowed quite a bit from these newer releases. But with a catalogue as wide and as deep as the one Pollard has manufactured, there was no shortage of older classics and deep cuts. I mean, you really can't go wrong with a setlist featuring classics like "Cut Out Witch," "Motor Away," "Teenage FBI," "I Am A Scientist," "Game of Pricks," and "Tractor Rape Chain." And of course, peppered among their 50+ song setlist, was Bob's classic drunken stage banter. One moment he was telling the crowd that writing a catchy tune is the easiest thing in the world to do; "Verse, chorus, verse, chorus, coda. 50 seconds. Tops." At another point he said he had big news, stating, "We're going on a world tour opening for Weezer. After that, who cares... 2-3-4" to which the entire room whipped out their cellphones to immediately suss out if he was full of it or not (he was). Their song choices, the quality of their performance, and the high-energy crowd-atmosphere made this one of the most solid GBV shows I have seen in ages. Definitely looking forward to Irving Plaza show #19.

A few videos from the show are below...

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Guided By Voices - NYC - 7/11/14 -A Good Flying Bird

Guided By Voices - Cut Out Witch - Irving Plaza 7/11/14

Guided By Voices - Unleashed - Irving Plaza 7/11/14

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Comments (43)

Wow a marathon show that would make Garcia jealous! Keep on truckin' boys!

Posted by Anonymous | July 14, 2014 2:44 PM

Pitiful, please retire, please.

Posted by Anonymous | July 14, 2014 2:55 PM

I am so Grateful for these guys! Weir going to see them all the time. These guys have lots of Hart!

Posted by Anonymous | July 14, 2014 2:57 PM

A crowd of 1000 would've made it a sold out show at irving.

Posted by ME | July 14, 2014 2:57 PM

1400 capacity at Irving

Posted by Anonymous | July 14, 2014 3:00 PM

Far worse than the Bowery show a couple months ago.

Posted by Anonymous | July 14, 2014 3:00 PM

This writer fucking sucks. The place was packed - except a few spots in the balcony.

Posted by Anonymous | July 14, 2014 3:01 PM

^yup. And the place stunk so bad of patchouli, I gave up after an hour and walked the fuck out.

Posted by Anonymous | July 14, 2014 3:02 PM

"This writer fucking sucks. The place was packed - except a few spots in the balcony."

It was packed, but definitely not sold out. I've seen it WAY more packed.

Posted by Anonymous | July 14, 2014 3:16 PM

C'mon people now, smile on your brother, everybody get together, try to love one another right now

Posted by Anonymous | July 14, 2014 3:25 PM

was that asshole there with the glasses and toupee?

Posted by anonymous | July 14, 2014 3:34 PM

1025 capacity at Irving

Posted by Anonymous | July 14, 2014 3:52 PM

^that is absolutely incorrect

Posted by Anonymous | July 14, 2014 3:52 PM

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irving_Plaza

"Irving Plaza is a 1,025-person[1] ballroom-style music venue at 17 Irving Place and East 15th Street in the Union Square neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City."

Posted by Anonymous | July 14, 2014 4:01 PM

Mitchfork comment section is blowing up.

Posted by Anonymous | July 14, 2014 4:10 PM

I don't know if it was capacity, but it was pretty packed for sure.

By the time they played 14 Cheerleader Coldfront, Pollard was wasted and basically farting into the mic. Insanely great show regardless, always a good time seeing GBV.

Posted by Anonymous | July 14, 2014 4:24 PM

Yes 4:01 because we all know that if it says it in Wikipedia it is the word of law and must be true

You, my friend, are an imbecile

Irving Plaza cap is btw 1400-1500. Has been that for years now.

The wikipedia entry is incorrect.

Posted by Anonymous | July 14, 2014 4:29 PM

^Yeah, you're right, it make a lot more sense to trust an anonymous commenter on brooklynvegan.com.

Posted by Anonymous | July 14, 2014 5:51 PM

Yes, it actually does. Wikipedia is usually off.

In any case who gives a fuck what you believe? Irving Plaza cap is 14-1500. You want to believe something else, go right ahead dipshit.

Posted by Anonymous | July 14, 2014 6:03 PM

^Documentation? I thought not. Brooklynvegan.com commenters are usually off. Irving Plaza's capacity is 1200 tops, including comps and staff. Fact.

Posted by Anonymous | July 14, 2014 6:27 PM

It's definitely 1200.

Webster Hall's main room is 1500.

Posted by Anonymous | July 14, 2014 6:39 PM

Posted by Anonymous | July 14, 2014 6:40 PM

^Laughing at this moron who could not read and decipher his own link. Let me spell it out for you numbnutz. See where it says Balcony and Viewing platform as N/A. See that also contains people. Usually you fit another 200-300 people or so up there. So that goes into the total count of the venue

Now gets one reading skills you fucking twit and come back to me later

Posted by Anonymous | July 14, 2014 6:51 PM

^typo correction "one supposed to say some"

Posted by Anonymous | July 14, 2014 6:54 PM

Bet 6:40 thought he was so clever and smart posting that link


FAIL!

Posted by Anonymous | July 14, 2014 6:56 PM

Laugh all you want, you're wrong. Why would the venue's own website fail to mention 1/3 or their capacity? Do you know what N/A means? It mean's not applicable? Do you know why it's not applicable? Because it's a general admission configuration, ie. a concert, and the balcony is included in the total. Irving Plaza cannot fit 1400 people, and you've failed to provide any evidence that I can other then the nonsense you persist on spouting.

Posted by Anonymous | July 14, 2014 7:02 PM

^N/A means not available doofus

Again, no one actually gives a shit what you think. You failed. You are an idiot and you are wrong. Your so called evidence was wikipedia which of course is wrong all the time and then a link which you could not properly decipher.

Enough of you.

Posted by Anonymous | July 14, 2014 7:05 PM

GBV! GBV!!!!

Posted by Anonymous | July 14, 2014 7:09 PM

One citation showing a 1400+ capacity? One source? Anything?

Posted by Anonymous | July 14, 2014 7:20 PM

Good god, people are dense.

Posted by Anonymous | July 14, 2014 7:24 PM

1200 smelly hippies or 1400 smelly hippies. Who cares?

Posted by Anonymous | July 14, 2014 7:35 PM

One article? It's just that you used a lot of tough talk and name calling here.

Posted by Anonymous | July 14, 2014 7:37 PM

Your silence speaks volumes, dipshit.

Posted by Anonymous | July 14, 2014 9:41 PM

For the record, the balcony was closed off the night GBV played. I know because I tried to go there during Crystal Stilts set.

Anyone who was up there had to be VIP or staff or whatever the fuck.

Posted by Anonymous | July 14, 2014 10:05 PM

This is a band who played to over 900,000 people at Watkins Glen in 1973...it's a step down no matter what.

Posted by Anonymous | July 14, 2014 11:00 PM

I was up there in the balcony by myself, doing blow and carrying on.

Posted by Tron Carter | July 15, 2014 7:00 AM

LOL @ the douchey scarves arguing here. Was probably an insufferable crowd regardless if it was 500 or 1,500. You lose anyway.

Posted by Anonymous | July 15, 2014 10:35 AM

Don't most of the trolls here have something better to do than rip on this band or argue about the Irving Plaza capacity? No one forced you to read this article..

Posted by Anonymous | July 15, 2014 2:51 PM

Here is video I took (I think the sound is a bit better):

http://youtu.be/C-q7bXpN-mc?t=1m24s

Posted by Clenville Tziabatz | July 15, 2014 3:17 PM

The Trolls of Brooklyn Vegan NEVER have anything better to do than rip on bands they don't like.

FWIW, I didn't go to this show because a) I saw these guys when they were younger, tighter, and the setlist was better; b) I don't buy into the hype behind these reunion albums (played 'em once, sold 'em back); and c) this show was overpriced -- even after they lowered the ticket price to $35, it was STILL overpriced!

I do love Pollard when he's good, though. Brooklyn Vegan commenters are never good.

Posted by Anonymous | July 15, 2014 3:18 PM

thank you Clenville Tziabatz, the video is a bit odd as the band are so tiny in it but the sound is good and it's cool to watch and listen. I almost flew over from London for this very show but the cost of transatlantic air travel is just insane these days :)

Posted by lynshroom | July 15, 2014 5:37 PM

You guys are nerds.

Posted by Anonymous | July 16, 2014 9:32 AM

Is it just me or are many of the comments below just people talking to themselves?

Posted by Allie | November 21, 2014 5:51 AM

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