Guided by Voices: The Club Has Reopened

Guided by Voices, featuring Robert Pollard on lead vocals, have a full-on sound, murky and raw, a straight shot of indulgence and jolly vice, like nothing else.

The band has been around for over 30 years and, despite never cracking into a major market, has maintained a loyal following known for their chant of the faithful, “GBV!” The show is made up of some 65-80 songs – 10-14 songs in the encores alone, almost all of which – like the above Alex and the Omegas – are barely 2 minutes in length, all replete with power chords, chants and leg kicks.Screenshot (1342)They are not a traditional band, although oddly enough that is exactly what they seem, a case of beer on stage, bottles of Jack Daniels and plenty of smokes to go around…yes, even today.
20140524_011359They have split up and got back together numerous times. The last CD – Motivational Jumpsuit – was to be the last, but now there’s another coming in a month – Cool Planet. artworks-000071966118-y2juzs-originalThis, their final reunion tour, is returning to New York this summer and will play The Stone Pony, which according to the Rock ‘n Roll Hall of Fame is “one of the greatest rock clubs of all time.” An intriguing combination to be sure.

Top Ten Concerts

Yes, I admit this is both anal and childish, but I like to remember the places where my thoughts worked best – even if I didn’t remember much of it at show’s end.

10. Ravi Shankar, Roy Thomson Hall, Toronto (1983) Beautiful hall, incredible music. Ravi Shankar performs at Paleo festival, Switzerland in 2005

9. Emmylou Harris, The Boot Saloon, Toronto (1992) A honky-tonk night.Musician Emmylou Harris performs during a concert celebrating musician Pete Seeger's 90th birthday in New York8. Tragically Hip, Cleveland Flats, Cleveland (1995) Canada’s greats, straight & full-on.20140504_2316477. Guided by Voices, Fillmore West, San Francisco (2002) The club is open.GBV Philly 6. Jane’s Addiction, Key Arena, Seattle (1995) Farrell and Navarro in summer dresses. perry-farrell-of-jane-s-addiction 5. Low, The Aquarium, Fargo (2012) Three full sets.Phone 061 4. My Bloody Valentine, Roseland Ballroom, New York (2008) Ears are still ringing. IMAG3757

3. Noel Hill & Tony MacMahon, Mother Red Cap’s, Dublin (1994) The pure drop in a tavern.

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2. Sufjan Stevens, Bowery Ballroom, New York (2013) The end of the world – December 21, 2112 – with a few hundred others. IMAG2066 1. Grateful Dead, Oklahoma City Zoo, Oklahoma (1985) Full moon, at a zoo.Grateful_Dead-Greek_85-1 (walstib)

Sufjan Stevens – Bowery Ballroom, 12/21/12

Sufjan Stevens played out the apocalypse at the Bowery Ballroom in New York last night. And I feel pretty good. IMAG2059It was a remarkably lovely show with Santa balloons, noisemakers and crazy costumes – a real X-Mess as Sufjan wrote on his shirt – but it was the music….my goodness, the music, that transfixed. He played many different things, many of them Christmas songs, some of them not, like one of the encores: To Be Alone With You. (Click for live clip of the song here.)IMAG2053Sufjan Stevens is a remarkable presence with a profound sense of who he is, his mind working too fast, his talent radiating out, almost embarrassed about it…but not that at all.

Sufjan Stevens as the Christmas Unicorn.

Sufjan Stevens as the Christmas Unicorn.

Sufjan Stevens as the Christmas Unicorn

Sufjan Stevens as the Christmas Unicorn

I’m the Christmas Unicorn! You’re the Christmas Unicorn too!
It’s a simple thing. It’s a wonderful thing. It doesn’t have to be a world full of guns, floods and death. It really can be something else. We just have to put on our damn balloon suits. That’s it.

Christmas unicorns and confetti for everyone.

Christmas unicorns and confetti for everyone.

And nominate Sufjan Stevens for President of the Inter-StellarCollective.