It was my first time seeing Guided By Voices live, and it was a long time coming. Most of my hipster indie rock friends have been praising this band over the past decade, plus calling it a show for the ages. There was an enormous beer cooler on stage in front of the drum kit, which halfway through the show started to make sense. “We get drunker, better and younger as we go along,” exclaimed frontman Robert Pollard just before he twirled his microphone round and round Roger Daltry Style.
The “classic lineup” of guitarists Mitch Mitchell and Tobin Sprout, bassist Greg Demos, and drummer Kevin March ruled the stage at the Regency Ballroom. I haven’t spent much time celebrating the band’s impressive 20-plus studio albums, and I had no idea that the average length of their songs was about two minutes. “What a fantastic approach to songwriting,” I told my wife who was in attendance with me as it was her first time ever hearing the band. I followed up, “If you don’t like the song they are playing, at least you know there’s another one coming up in about 90 seconds.”
I thought the band was fantastic though. There was a certain Robin Zander/Rick Neilson chemistry between Pollard and guitarist Mitch Mitchell, with a bit of Johnny Rotten and Sid Vicious thrown for attitude. Having never seen them live before, it would have been very easy to think they are from the UK, as their songs borrowed greatly from the sound of the ’60s British Invasion, and I swear I heard an English accent happening at one point.