Since disbanding his seminal group Guided By Voices after over 20 years in 2004, Robert Pollard has been churning out record after record. Known a prolific writer who creates short and catchy songs by the dozens (in 2008 alone he released four different albums… so far!) fans know to expect a massive collection of work from him no matter what group he’s with or what label he is on.
The crowd at the show was a mixed bag of people. I happened to get there a bit early and saw a lot of older couples milling about, waiting for the show to get started. Some of them looked confused, like they hadn’t been to a live concert in a while. There were also many younger fans who probably only came because they missed out on seeing GBV back in the day. Throughout the night the Johnny Brenda’s team made their best attempt to cater to a sold out show of seasoned drinkers (Pollard and his fans are notorious alcohol lovers). About ten minutes before the band came on the room was filled to capacity, everyone eager to hear the new project from one of the most important figures in lo-fi rock.
Bob Pollard doesn’t look or act his 50 years. One wouldn’t expect such energy from a man with white hair, but his flannel and red chucks gave away his young attitude. He and the band came on stage double fisting beers and smiling ear to ear. There was no bullshit witty banter, they just started playing and didn’t stop until it was time to swig from a bottle. In Pollard’s case, it was beer and a bottle of tequila he forgot he had hidden. He expressed his surprise and delight upon finding it about 4 songs in. I should also mention that when Pollard is psyched, which is all the time, he does high kicks. I lost count at 12, and it ruled. The more songs they played, and the more they drank, the more was discussed between songs. Pollard is funny as hell, even when he doesn’t make sense after a few beers.
The Boston Spaceships songs are longer than the typical GBV song, though that doesn’t say much because they usually clocked in at 1 minute. They are more old school rock-n-roll, a bit more complex in the same vain as say, Cheap Trick as opposed to the end-just-as-they-started early punk songs that Pollard clearly loves.
One of the members of the band, John Moen, has played with countless other bands you probably know and love including The Decemberists, Elliot Smith, Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks, etc. That might help to describe how the sound of the Boston Spaceships differentiates from the typical GBV song.
I haven’t heard the new album yet, but am eager to. Seeing it live made it clear that Pollard is still as great as he ever was, and has no intention of stopping. I can’t wait to see what he comes up with next. Cheers!