During the back half of August — when summer sluggishness is at its peak and the realization that carefree days in the sun will soon come to an end sets in — there is a temptation to assess the previous months and make a determination: Will the memories of the season be sufficient to carry us through the cold months ahead?
As a metaphor for summer, the songs of Dayton, Ohio’s Guided by Voices, led by Robert Pollard, are surprisingly fitting. They’re short in just about every way — short on build-up, short on context and, most of all, short on time. But they aspire to greatness, to anthemic heights. Sometimes they hit and sometimes they miss, but there is always another to be had.
This Saturday, DJs Ricky Moslen and Daniel Barrett will mine the best gems from the band’s 30-year career to present The Club Is Open: A Guided by Voices Dance Party, at Spirit.
The event is presented as an offshoot of Moslen and Barrett’s “Total Trash” dance party series. As Moslen describes it, Total Trash is “a queer-friendly dance party where we play stuff not normally played at regular dance nights.”
While the raucous sound of the indie legends dovetails perfectly with the spirit of Total Trash, the choice to winnow the sprawling, labyrinthine discography is rooted in the pair’s own fandom. “I found the messy world of 4-track, DIY, early-’90s indie rock really honest and freeing,” Barrett says.
With such a massive body of work to draw from, choosing the most appropriate GBV tracks will present a challenge. “At last count, we have 109 Pollard-related releases to pull from,” Barrett says. “Trying to cut that down to a succinct handful of songs that’ll please the crowd and keep people dancing has been an interesting process. I’m mostly just hoping there’s an appropriate time to sneak in some of the quieter, lo-fi moments.”
“With a night like this, I think people likely want to rock out to songs they already know and love, so we’ll include lots of ‘hits,’ more or less,” Moslen adds. “Plus, only so many GBV songs are dance-y.”