They have always seemed like a perfect match, Guided By Voices and Las Vegas. Indie rock veterans famous for fueling their live shows with beer and a city without a last call. And yet, during its 24-year touring history, GBV has played here just once—the closing set at 2010’s Matador at 21 festival at the Palms, a performance caught by few local residents.
On October 27—a Friday night, no less—the band and its Vegas fans will at last get rightfully acquainted, when Robert Pollard brings his latest lineup to the Bunkhouse Saloon to headline night one of the Downtown venue’s Nightmare on 11th Street pre-Halloween weekend party. GBV will play outdoors, providing capacity far beyond the indoor room’s 250-person limit.
Tickets cost $30 ($35 day-of-show) and are on sale now through Ticketfly.com.
These days, Guided By Voices’ shows actually feel less boozy. Pollard, who will turn 60 on Halloween, still swigs from a Jose Cuervo bottle (before passing it through the crowd), but he appears to have cut back on the beer. The results have been even more impressive than the fun but messy nights of GBV’s past: tight and forceful performances that sound as strong toward their end as at their start.
When the Dayton, Ohio-based band played Matador at 21 seven years ago, its ranks featured a reunited, mid-90s “classic lineup”: Pollard, guitarists Tobin Sprout and Mitch Mitchell, bassist Greg Demos and drummer Kevin Fennell. The current incarnation includes Pollard and two onetime members who have returned to the fold—guitarist Doug Gillard and drummer Kevin March—along with two newcomers, guitarist Bobby Bare Jr. and bassist Mark Shue.
That fivesome has released two excellent albums this year, April double-LP August by Cake and the brand new How Do You Spell Heaven, out August 11.
Recent setlists by the band have typically featured more than 50 numbers per night, spanning all eras of Pollard’s massive songwriting career. He has also published a coffee table book this year, 100, to mark the arrival of August by Cake, which he considers his 100th official LP.