I would be remiss in my duties if I did not implore you to leave work early on Friday, June 7th, go directly to the Young Avenue Deli, and begin to slam beers in order to enhance your enjoyment of Dayton's finest rockers, Guided By Voices. In the opinion of this diehard fan, GBV have been putting out some pretty forgettable material lately, but their songs are two minutes long, and they'll probably play for three hours, which means they'll play more than a few songs from their glory days. And since GBV have been cranking out fantastic pop tunes about robots, airplanes, liquor, weed, bad love, outer space, and, of course, rock-and-roll since 1986, there is plenty of material to choose from. And, heck, if they just played "Motor Away" over and over, I'd be plenty happy.
While the group has never completely recovered from guitarist (and, in the estimation of some, the soul of GBV) Tobin Sprout's departure a few years back, Doug Gillard's guitar work is not to be underestimated. Though the recorded material seems to suffer from an abundance of production and a lack of inspiration, GBV's live shows are always a kick in the pants and a fine excuse to jump up and down in a beer-soaked arena-rock frenzy for hours on end. Better still, The 45's will be on hand to open. While everybody has been cooing and gurgling over the White Stripes, this stunning, organ-driven ensemble has quietly continued to soup up their garage-rock hot rod. And it is one sweet machine, let me tell you. Perhaps only ? and the Mysterians did it better and, even then, only on "96 Tears." Either GBV or the 45's would be a heck of a show. Both is almost too much to ask for.
If GBV's fantastic power pop just ain't your thang, maybe you'll want to go visit the Hi-Tone on Thursday, June 6th, to catch a show by honky-tonkers The Brooklyn Cowboys. These citified troubadours have quite the pedigree, what with connections to the late Gram Parsons and all. But there's one real problem with their music: They are the Brooklyn Cowboys, you see, and it seems they have grown a little too urbane to play real, honest-to-God country music. Their most recent release, The Other Man In Black (The Ballad of Dale Earnhardt), is a rockabilly-tinged mess that sounds like a parody of a spoof of a send-up of Hee Haw, with singers employing the kind of Southern accents you only find on reruns of The Dukes of Hazzard. If it was supposed to be funny, it isn't, and if it was intended to be a serious homage, then it's a hoot. Don't get me wrong: These guys are great players who can whoop up quite the hillbilly ruckus, and that goes a long way to make up for other glaring deficits. And occasionally, as The Other Man In Black's fourth track, "Learn How To Love Me," proves, once in a while, they can get everything absolutely right. Chris Davis