Tangent-filled Goodbye to GBV

As the Guided By Voices sun sets in the hazy Los Angeles horizon, a fabulously intoxicating drunkeness turns into one hell of a hangover, the kind of hangover that numbs your head to the tune of the buzzing that got stuck in your ears, causing your eyes to slide out of focus when you need them the most. Maybe I shouldn't have stood so close to the speakers, but I was drawn to the side and my ears seemed to enjoy it until I stood in shock outside after the concert, unable to hear myself think, paranoid that I'd be paralyzingly tuned to this freqency for the rest of my life. The speakers were my friends last night. They didn't stop; they didn't try to be anything other their unapologetic, collective essence. On the roof we looked down on the Hollywood Boulevard grimy chaos, where broken melodies try to mend and fallen stars peel themselves off the dirty sidewalks. Gower crosses the Hollywood threshold tenatively, slowly guiding it away from touristy tradition, towards the speakers on the left side of the stage. I was drawn to the left side out of rebellion, out of disrespect for the right side. You try watching a dying breed of drunk middle-aged indie rockers from the right side of the stage just weeks after the tragic 2004 Presidential Election. I can't even use my right hand anymore, even though I am right-handed, for fear that my spirit may take a turn for the worse towards hypocritical morally righteous Jesus freak unilateral corporate monopoly powerstructure building Rove-esque madness. My left foot is stronger than my right. When I play soccer, I tend to go left when everyone else favors the right. I've always used this advantage. There's more space to the left, more potential choices, less limitation. There's freedom when you don't have to answer to the right. I know it's just a game, just like beautiful music is just a fable subverting soundwaves. There's an ever-present power in the game of soccer that glides effortlessly across international lines the way foreign policy never can. It's a continuous interplay of decision making, athleticism, and cooperation. When I'm engaged in the game of soccer, it relieves my mind, sending it on a vacation where finances, pesky ex-boyfriends, and my mindless, challenge-less job are not around to spoil the fun. But when I'm not on the field, I tend to use alcohol to relieve my mind, like last night, when the high anticipation of the last Guided By Voices concert I'd ever see fueled my quest for slight intoxication that would eventually be overtaken by constant ear-buzzing and five guys crammed into my car on the drive back to Echo Park down Sunset Blvd. rhyming about Kibbles 'N' Bits, Roberto Beningi's early 90s movie career, and the Genie with a zuchini in a bikini. The details of my designated drive home are well documented in my head, but the passengers undoubtedly have headaches the size of the Bush Family fortune circa 2080 (provided Amercia upholds its preference for electing dimwits into office and Jeb follows in his brother's footsteps). Any sympathy delegated to those boys is wasteful, since they drank a bottomless beer pond and smoked themselves so green even all the NYU freshmen from Kansas were envious. I would argue that they successfully kept up with Robert Pollard, who, by the end of the encore (which, he bragged, was "longer than most bands' sets") could hardly keep his eyes open. A couple observations about the show... (1) Pollard's between-song banter was mostly stream-of-consciousness musings on the current state of rock music. He increasingly pessimistic the more he drank and smoked, taking aim at such overblown dinosaurs as Scott Weiland, Courtney Love, Vince Neil, and the industry itself. Although fascinating and hilarious, I would be intrigued to hear what a sober, serious 21-year-veteran musician alter-ego has to say about the way indie rock has changed in the 2000s. And (2) there was guitar solo. That's right, a Guitar Solo. I heard it. It was there. And I don't care whether anyone else noticed it. I heard a guitar solo, and it reminded me of how much rock music is missing these day. The voids are all over the map and fail to be filled by self-indulgent manic depressive lyrics empty but for commerical value and resurrected copyright infringed melodies from a time period buried alive. And here Pollard stands, drunken Bill Clinton-esque anti-rock star, rallying inspirational in tune with the passionate farewell audience, full of charging batteries in the face of apparent but enthusiastically ignored midlife crisis.

Goodbye Guided By Voices. You are brilliant.


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