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Guided By Voices + The Gotobeds - Mr. Small's (Pittsburgh) - April 27, 2024

4 May 2024

“This is our new digital hit single!” and Guided By Voices launched into “Serene King,” one of the catchiest songs from the guy who can’t help but churn those out by the double fistful. And so Bob Pollard addressed the very full Mr. Small’s, a building which used to function as a church but is now a rock club. The congregation just switched members, disciples and acolytes welcome alike but with a different purpose in mind, getting baptized in Miller Lite and celebrating the church of the high kick.

Pollard was particularly verbose tonight, feeling loose and in a good mood. “You don’t play a show like this in front of a great crowd without the goods. 30, 40 hits? We have 4000 hits! Who’s dick do you have to suck to get a hit? Well, Thurston (Moore) said hits are for squares.” prefaced “Game Of Pricks.” I can share his disappointment that so many of his songwriting gems didn’t find radio domination but the good news is that word of mouth is still a strong approach to building an audience, and the diehards of the crowd were singing along with arms draped around newcomers. All are welcome to planet Pollard.

Speaking of planets, he mentioned that “Planet Score” was the genesis for an actual record store based in St. Louis. “Dinosaur Jr. doesn’t have a record store named after a song of theirs. They should. But J would probably fill it with heavy metal.”

If there’s a criticism to be had, it wouldn’t lay with tonight’s show as the band was consistently tight and Pollard singing strongly. But for people who have seen multiple shows so far, the set list is rather rigid. In Nashville, Pollard mused about dropping “Volcano” from the set as there are only so many songs a band can play in a show, compounded severely when the creative element has recorded thousands. “Volcano” has remained in the set but “Back To The Lake” and “Instinct Dwelling” were casualties from previous shows this year. Like I said, a minor quibble but a shakeup to the core 9’0s material would be cool, even just a song or two.

With a name like The Gotobeds, it’s pretty obvious that this Pittsburgh four piece is a fan of Wire but their show had a lot more drive and energy, no doubt fueled by their desire to hold up their end of the bill in front of a hometown crowd. Bits of Mission Of Burma and Parquet Courts could be heard in their mix.

The adrenaline ended up breaking Eli Kasan’s Gibson Music Man, and as the set ended in chaos, a kick drum converted to step stool was also sacrificed to the gods. “We’re The Gotobeds and we’re from…. here. We have merch for sale over there. You can buy some or not. Actually if you buy some it will help me fix my guitar.”