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Academy - New York, NY, U.S.A. [Live]

Guided By Voices

Date: 11/02/1995
Format: Gig
# Songs: 17
Audio Exists: Yes
Video Exists: No
Tour: Back In The States Tour
w/ Urge Overkill and Thrush Hermit. Listed on old GBV.com tour page as Roseland, not Academy, but New York Times review confirms it was Academy:

New York Times
A Visit To the 70's Without A Goodbye

Published: November 4, 1995

A mirrored disco ball hung over the stage throughout Urge Overkill's show at the Academy on Thursday night. No spotlight ever reached it; it was merely a talisman of the 1970's tackiness that has always been Urge Overkill's gimmick.

When the band emerged from Chicago in the late 1980's, its members' medallions and velour shirts and the music's deadpan 70's references helped to distinguish Urge Overkill from other collegiate rockers. The band's cool demeanor was perfectly exploited by Quentin Tarantino when it performed Neil Diamond's "Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon" in "Pulp Fiction." But in Urge Overkill's own songs, the pose has become a trap.

At the Academy, band members wore satin and lame, not velour, and Nash Kato, singing and playing guitar, had shed his sunglasses. Many of the songs were about escaping loneliness and searching for freedom.

But Urge Overkill is confined by its shtick. The band revives a barren period of rock: an early-70's era of dry, featureless melodies and steady-riffing guitars with their tone compressed into a utilitarian mid range thump. At best, Urge Overkill's songs hark back to late-1960's Rolling Stones; at worst, the band imitates Peter Frampton or Boston without improving on its sources. Mr. Kato's voice is still a smug croon; Eddie King Roeser, the band's other guitarist and singer, was more fervent. Yet even with an occasional good line or hard-hitting riff, the stylized songs and performance grew monotonous.

Guided by Voices and Thrush Hermit, which shared the bill, look back farther but with better results. Both emulate British Invasion rock and its descendants, from the Beatles to Squeeze to the Replacements. In rock's eternal balancing act between craftsmanship and spontaneity, Guided by Voices tries scruffiness and productivity. Robert Pollard has written hundreds of songs, some under a minute long, and he and the band knock them out with unpolished glee, droning and kicking. Mr. Pollard smoked cigarettes and drank most of a six-pack of beer as he jumped splay-legged around the stage. But the free-associative words and well-turned melodies were the testimony of a compulsive tunesmith who can't help revealing himself.

Thrush Hermit followed a more standard alternative-rock method, smudging pop-rock songs with noisy guitars and slouching around the stage. Its songs had a recurring obsession: high schoolers' separation anxiety.

GuitarTobin Sprout
VocalsRobert Pollard
GuitarMitch Mitchell
Bass GuitarJim Greer
Drums and PercussionCraig-O
Academy - New York, NY
1.   My Son Cool
2.   Game Of Pricks
3.   Rhine Jive Click
4.   Postal Blowfish
5.   Office Of Hearts
6.   King And Caroline
7.   Motor Away
8.   Break Even
9.   Burning Flag Birthday Suit
10.  My Valuable Hunting Knife
11.  Hot Freaks
12.  Lethargy
13.  Always Crush Me
14.  Shocker In Gloomtown
15.  I Am A Scientist
16.  Yours To Keep
17.  Echos Myron