The May 2nd show featuring the recently reunited Guided By Voices was a pleaser in the sense that it gave their fans exactly what they wanted. Although there was only a moderate attendance at The Bottleneck, the prolific rock band supplied all of the classics of a Guided By Voices show: Scissor kicks, mass consumption of Miller Lite, tequila bottle sharing, humorous between song banter, and a hefty 51 song set.
The banter highlight came about a third of the way through, when Pollard was commenting on Lawrence. Acknowledging the city’s basketball tradition, he noted “I really like the Jayhawks’ coach. What is his name again? Oh yeah… it’s Bill go f*** yourSelf.” Instead of booing (Which Pollard expected, when he said “You’re supposed to boo that!” immediately afterwards), the crowd merely gave out big, hearty laughs.
Song wise, fans seemed uncertain as to whether or not Pollard and his group of fresh faces would be able to fill the void left by departing members Mitch Mitchell, Kevin Fennell, Tobin Sprout, and Greg Demos. It became clear quickly that returning drummer Kevin March, new guitarists Bobby Bare and Nick Mitchell, and new bassist Mark Shue had the chops to keep up with Pollard’s ability to breeze through a lengthy setlist. The setlist included a good amount of what one would expect, with a significant portion coming from new release Please Be Honest, as well as some off of the classic Bee Thousand and a few of Pollard’s solo efforts.
However, Guided By Voices threw a couple curveballs, such as a cover of The Who’s “Baba O’Riley”. The fresh faces allowed Pollard to take charge with the theatrics for the most part, although in the second half of the set, the charisma of the rest of the group started to show more.
This all led to an energetic and passionate crowd, most of whom probably had seen Guided By Voices before. Despite playing only a meager 23% of their discography, fans knew the lyrics to most of the songs, evident by the amount of sing-alongs that broke out throughout the show. Even for those who were at their first Guided By Voices rodeo it was a fun time, because the tunes are easy to get into, and the band and crowd fed off of one another to create a simply enjoyable atmosphere.