Guided By Voices : Toronto Horseshoe Tavern


GBV frontman Robert Pollard is America’s answer to Shane MacGowan, minus the romanticism but with a better dental plan. As the brains and lager-induced brawn behind these lo-fi rock gods, Pollard and his revolving door supporting cast are here for two marathon nights supporting new album ‘Universal Truths and Cycles’: so proud are they of the new record that they decide to dedicate most of tonight’s 50-song set to it.

Standing next to some conveniently situated iceboxes, the group kicks things off with a series of songs from the new album, including ‘Skin Parade’ and ‘Eureka Signs’. With a beer in his right hand and the mic in his left, Pollard kicks and occasionally jumps around, sometimes spraying the crowd with lager and throwing out song titles between sips. The tightly packed horde responds by howling back lyrics to seventy-second songs like human karaoke machines. As one am moves towards two, guitarist Nate Farley finds his stride, throwing in old favourites like ‘My Valuable Hunting Knife’ at the homestretch, but by then the drunken audience and drunker band can barely remember which song they’re on. More than three hours later, it ends. Beer-soaked but unbowed, Pollard has earned his keep for another night. Fabulous.

Jason MacNeil