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July 3, 2003

Reprinted (Because It Made Me Giggle)...

From Cleveland Free Times, Vol.11, No.10, July 2-8, 2003
The Lime Spider | Friday, June 27

At one point in their nearly 20-year career, Guided by Voices gave credibility to the phrase "daddy know best." As a group of middle-aged men living out their pubescent fantasies of being the next Who, the band outshone fresh-faced indie boys and their Kinks reissues collections with their 60's freakbeat-influenced rock. However, their unabashed drunken display at this show was more like watching a bad train wreck.

When Guided by Voices' brilliant Alien Lanes came out in 1994, singer Bob Pollard was still teaching the 4th grade and bringing home the bacon to his middle class Midwestern family of four. Now, as the band anticipates the August release of Earthquake Glue, which has already received a few dismal reviews, Pollard is busy making out with girls half his age and beating up audience members - or, so he did at the band's first Akron appearance.

As Pollard slurred in self-aggrandizement "we don't need to play f*cking arenas when we've got an audience like this," over 300 roars rumbled out of the extra-large, 25-and-over beer guts hogging up the itsy bitsy Lime Spider. No, Guided by Voices don't need to play "f*cking arenas," but nor could they, even if they wanted.

Though Guided by Voices were holding it together musically, the sheer length of their set and the club's humidity ultimately made the band's gleaming psyche pop a psyche out. It also didn't help that Pollard's man boobs kept wobbling around inside his starred and spangled shirt.

But it didn't stop the old geezer from chain-smoking through songs, or whirling his microphone above his head as he high kicked his way through some of the band's extensive catalog. But after about four of their Syd Barrett and Creation-inspired songs, you really have heard them all. Songs from Bee Thousand to Mag Earwhig! bled together, each one becoming indistinct from the next.

As the band droned into a new song, an older audience member glanced at his friend, who wore an equally bad polo shirt, and said "this is my 12th time seeing Guided by Voices." Given the way the band's deteriorated, that's hardly something to brag about now. It was a depressing sight of delusions of grandeur and the ability to shamelessly enter a rock'n'roll time capsule.

On a lighter note, Kent's All Golden at least delivered a fresher interpretation of fuzzy power pop. With the help of two Harriet the Spy veterans, the best local hardcore act in Kent churned out buttery, cosmic anthems during its opening set.

--Denise Grollmus

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