BEING THERE: MAGNET’s 21st Birthday Bash


MAGNET magazine celebrated its 21st Anniversary with a concert headlined by Robert Pollard’s Guided By Voices. Dayton’s finest have existed on and off for over thirty years and during those years Pollard has proven himself to be one of the greatest and most prolific songwriters of this or any era, having released over 40 albums between his solo and GBV releases. In 2012 Pollard reunited the seminal lineup of GBV that recorded 1994’s Bee Thousand album and together they have released six albums in the last four years including two in 2014 alone. If Nirvana’s 1991 slickly recorded Nevermind is its generations Never Mind The Bollocks than Bee Thousand is it’s London Calling. The album is a sprawling twenty song minimalist-rock epic recorded on a four-track recorder in a series of garages and basements that proves that greatness lies not in expensive, radio-friendly production values but in the hands and hearts of the creators. There is an undeniable power and energy when the original GBV lineup plays together as demonstrated by the crowd’s reaction last night. Prior to the band’s arrival on stage the capacity crowd stomped and chanting “GBV! GBV!” for over twenty minutes. They cheered and chanted “TOBIN!” when guitarist Tobin Sprout took the stage to set up his equipment. They let out another roar when guitarist “Mitch” Mitchell was setting up his gear and his perpetually dangling lit cigarette fell from his lips and hit the stage, creating a small mushroom cloud of dust and smoke. The crowd roared even more lustily when two large orange beer coolers containing “fuel” for the band were delivered to the center of the stage. The band arrived to the stage to a deafening hero’s welcome, and Pollard took a generous swig out a large bottle of hard liquor before the band launched into a thirty-plus-song blur of a set that chronicled their history together. Twenty years seemed to melt away from both the fans and the band during the set. Guitarist Tobin Sprout hunched over his telecaster on the left of the stage churning out power chords. Mitch Mitchell slammed out riffs on his Gibson Les Paul on the other side of the stage with a replacement lit cigarette dangling precipitously from his mouth. Greg Demos seemed to appear at will at different points of the stage, popping up next to one of his band-mates and holding his bass high while delivering a steady stream of rumbling basslines. Front and center singer Pollard delivered impossibly high karate kicks and twirled his mic cord lasso style ala Roger Daltrey. GBV are The Who if they didn’t fall in love with creating rock operas. GBV are The Beatles if they had stayed in Hamburg pounding German beers, speed and prostitutes. GBV’s music is the sound of youthful rebellion and nonconformity. Their short haiku-like power pop confections are perfect as a reminder of the simple things in life and sweet memories of the past. Their music is also fitting for current times too; we live in a world where instant gratification is just a click away and GBV’s music provides instant gratification in spades. Because everything old is new again sooner or later, even indie rock magazines and beer-pounding ex-teacher rock savants from the garages of the Midwest . — PETE TROSHAK