Monday, July 08, 2002

Voices sound good with beer

By Chris Varias
Enquirer contributor

        “We always get hammered when we play local shows,” said Robert Pollard, lead singer of Dayton's Guided By Voices, at the onset of the band's show at Bogart's Saturday. “And we consider ourselves part of the locality of Greater Cincinnati.”

        Funny, we thought GBV hoisted beers all over the globe, not just in Southwest Ohio.

        Nonetheless, the five-man band downed several cans of domestic light brew during its rocking and rollicking 2 1/4-hour performance.

        Two-hours-plus is a sprint for Guided By Voices, the alternative-rock veterans who are known for playing four-hour shows around these parts. But they squeezed 44 songs into the set, and it took the club flipping on the house lights before their last encore tune (a cover of the Beatles' “A Hard Day's Night”) to get GBV off the stage.

        GBV and their pals, we should add. A phalanx of Dayton beer-swillers, standing off in the wings, slowly made its way onto the stage as the night proceeded. Unidentified members of this group would wander over to a microphone and yell things ranging from stupid to unintelligible. Let's just say the show was a rather loose affair.

        As for the music, there were many songs from the new album and lots of old favorites. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Who cares? It was a GBV show. It all was catchy. It all sounded good.

        “Now we're getting hammered,” Mr. Pollard conceded after they played crowd-favorite “Game of Pricks,” the night's 21st song.

        There was a comforting familiarity to the set list and to alcohol consumption, but there was a new face behind the drums. Kevin March is his name, and although he's a solid timekeeper, his act is a bit cheesy. (Please refrain from standing on your throne and waving your arms between songs, sir.)

        The opening band was truly local — Cincinnati's garage-rock leaders, the Greenhornes. They played a 35-minute set full of material from their new album, which they recently finished recording with former Afghan Whig John Curley at his Ultrasuede Studio. The record, which doesn't yet have a title, is set for a September release.


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