Last night in Cincinnati, Ohio, a Guided By Voices concert became a reunion Möbius strip (which somehow isn’t already a GBV song title) as guitarist Doug Gillard joined the most recent incarnation of Robert Pollard’s indie rock—or maybe we can finally start calling it classic rock—outfit.
Gillard joined Pollard, guitarist Bobby Bare, Jr., bassist Mark Shue, and drummer Kevin March for a festival at Cincinnati’s Fountain Square for what’s been described as an “all hits set” closing with a cover of The Who’s “Baba O’Riley.” (Gillard only came into the morning of the show; any guitarist would need some more time to learn a new set of tunes by Pollard, who probably wrote another brand new set while standing in line for an elephant ear.) While nothing has been confirmed, guitarist Nick Mitchell (who produced Pollard’s last solo record and was a member of Pollard’s Ricked Wicky project) has apparently left Guided By Voices permanently. No word on how long Gillard will stick with GBV, which, after a short break, will continue its summer tour with a stop at Trees in Dallas, TX this August.
Gillard joined Guided By Voices in 1996 when main man Pollard asked Gillard’s band, Cobra Verde, to back him on the Mag Earwhig album, ushering in the “hi-fi era” of GBV (which also included current drummer Kevin March from 2001-2004). Gillard remained with the band up until the 2004 “Electrifying Conclusion tour” that ended December 2005 with a two-night stand at Chicago’s Metro. During that time Gillard appeared on the Ric Ocasek-produced Do The Collapse and the gem of a GBV record, Isolation Drills, as well as Speak Kindly Of Your Volunteer Fire Department (released as a Pollard/Gillard record) and two albums credited to Lifeguards. Gillard always played the role of “stoic guitar player” on stage, handling most of the guitar solos with a restrained, confident vibe in contrast to the big rock shenanigans taking place elsewhere on stage.