At a Guided by Voices show, it feels like something is missing if even a single song slips by while you don’t have a beverage in hand. And last night Guided by Voices played, like, 40 songs — maybe more — at the Scene’s Sounds Like Summer shindig at Marathon Music Works. Suffice to say, we had a few. Our memory starts getting hazy and our notes unintelligible somewhere before the first of GBV's three encore sets.
While the back half of the set was chock full of choice GBV chestnuts like "Game of Pricks," "Tractor Rape Chain, “Motor Away” and “A Salty Salute,” the band front-loaded last night’s show with a barrage of songs from their sprawling, two-LP-strong 2012 output, making for a polar opposite to last week’s SLS event, which featured Guilty Pleasures and My So-Called Band covering the biggest hits of the ’80s and ’90s.
That made for a much different show than GBV’s nostalgic, reunion-tour hits fest at Cannery last year. But it felt more like seeing the true Guided by Voices, freaking people out with weird, short little songs performed with triumphant sloppiness, lead singer Robert Pollard passing communal bottles of liquor out into the crowd, introducing and counting off each tune like it was “Baba O’Riley." And, as expected, that wasn’t the only way in which Pollard emulated Roger Daltrey. The singer’s trademark mic swings and on-beat high kicks were in full effect.
But Pollard wasn’t the only performer showing off fancy legwork. Singer Jonas Stein of openers Turbo Fruits is getting more and more height with his mid-air splits every time we see the band. And as per usual, the Fruits delivered an ear-pummeling, epic set of local-discog faves like “Mama’s Mad 'Cos I Fried My Brain” and the deep-cut ode to pot paraphernalia that is "Volcano," plus outstanding jams from their upcoming LP, Butter. From what we can tell by live renditions, the band is further fusing its penchants for riff-heavy American rock and tuneful Brit pop.
Stein gave multiple shout-outs to GBV, repeatedly telling the crowd — which really should have been a lot larger, but at least it was a few hundred-strong — how excited he and his band were to open for the Pollard & Co. And they weren’t bullshitting, as we saw various Fruits up at the front of the stage during the headlining set, pounding brews, pumping fists and putting arms around buddies — the joyous pastimes of a GBV show.