Friday, April 20, 2018

Guided By Voices Played White Eagle Hall in Jersey City, 4/18/18

Guided By Voices

Space Gun

I flew home from Osaka on Tuesday. It was a pretty nice flight plan from Osaka to San Francisco to Newark, even with the pick up / re-check your bags, go through security again silliness of transferring to a domestic flight in the U.S. When I got to my Newark gate, though, United informed us that our flight home would be delayed by about 3 hours. Lame. I kept my mouth shut because I didn't want United setting upon me with their goons (Is that a thing we still talk about? No. Sorry.). That meant that I wouldn't be home all snug in my bed until about 1:30 AM. And I was back on morning duty with the cooldaughters just a few hours later. I was tired.

That didn't stop me from heading up to Jersey City to see Guided By Voices' performance at White Eagle Hall. I'd published a short interview with GBV guitarist Doug Gillard last week, and I'd been looking forward to the show since before even confirming the Japan trip.

I arrived just before the doors opened knowing that I needed to be there early if I wanted to stake out a spot for a few pictures. I got through White Eagle Hall's airport-like security, picked up my pass, and made my way to the front of the stage. Before the show, I spent some time chatting with Tom Barrett of Overlake and Alex Kielmanski of Sink Tapes. That was the thing about this show. If it wasn't sold out, it was close; and the whole place was full of familiar faces.

GBV took the stage at about 9:20 and ran through the first five songs from their latest album, Space Gun. That record came out in March, and folks all around me were already singing every word. From there, the band ran through a two-hour and forty-five minute, fifty-four song set. It ranged from hits to deep cuts to Robert Pollard or Doug Gillard solo tracks. The encore alone was about 10 songs and 45 minutes long.

Throughout, Pollard alternated between swigs of Cuervo and beers from the band's big, blue cooler. He apologized for not being able to pass the bottle around at an all-ages show and shouted out a couple of familiar die-hard faces up front. As usual, Pollard introduced just about every song the band played. The crowd by the stage sang almost every word.

As the evening progressed, Pollard got more talkative. At one point he told us about the CDC recommendations that women and men have only one and two drinks per day, respectively. He commented that, if that were really an issue, he'd have been dead sometime around the third grade.

About halfway through the show, I found Joe Centeno of The RockNRoll HiFives. I'd already been missing those folks after not having seen them for about 30 or 40 hours, so it was great to be able to catch up after our long separation. When the show was over, we took the short walk together over to FM Jersey City (where The RockNRoll HiFives, Tony Saxon, Sharkmuffin, and Thee Volatiles play this Saturday, 4/21) to catch a few songs from Guided By Voices tribute act The Everlasting Big Kick.

After about 20 minutes of that, I decided it would be best for me to make my way home. I was exhausted and running on fumes, but I managed to navigate safely back to CDMHQ.

In all, it was a super-swell welcome home. I got to catch one of the world's most venerable (and still very relevant) power pop / rock bands, see a bunch of friends, and take more pictures. Yesterday is a blur to me; but I'm fully back into the swing of things now.

All the pics from the show will be available in the Flickr galleries and on the Facebook page at some point.

Guided By Voices' Space Gun is out now, and it's quite awesome.

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