Music News & Reviews

Rocker brings revived band Guided by Voices to Louisville for one last performance

Robert Pollard brings Guided by Voices to Louisville for a finale.
Robert Pollard brings Guided by Voices to Louisville for a finale.

Guided by Voices/Times New Viking

9 p.m. Jan 15 at Headliners Music Hall, 1386 Lexington Rd., Louisville. $27 advance, $30 day of show. (502) 584-8088; etix.com.

Robert Pollard has never been one for nostalgia. In the time it would take to organize even the hastiest of retrospective projects, the tirelessly prolific rocker from Dayton, Ohio, could record two, maybe even three albums of all-new music.

So it was quite a surprise that Pollard not only resurrected the moniker of Guided By Voices last fall, but reassembled the self-described "classic" lineup of the band that became such a cultish and critical indie-rock hit during the mid-'90s.

It was to have been a brief get-together, though — a six-week trek that reunited Pollard, guitarists Tobin Sprout and Mitch Mitchell, bassist Greg Demos and drummer Kevin Fennell for the first time in more than 15 years. Even more improbable, the tour would spotlight only material from the recordings that the quintet cut during its four years together, including Propeller (1992), Bee Thousand (1994), Alien Lanes (1995) and Under the Bushes, Under the Stars (1996). That amounts to drops in the proverbial ocean of music that Pollard has created in and out of Guided by Voices over the years, but those albums largely established the band's cranky, boozy legacy.

The trek began in Austin and ended in New York. And that was to have been that. Then, New York received an encore by way of an Irving Plaza concert on New Year's Eve. The reunion was going to end there. But look what we have now. "Oops," was the heading of the blurb on Pollard's Web site stating that the finale will be this weekend with a concert at Headliners in Louisville.

On one hand, it remains a little deflating to admit that Guided By Voices was always a far bigger deal in Louisville than in Lexington. The band, in one of its later incarnations, attempted to crack open the door here with a deliriously rough-cut performance for the now-demised Dame's opening weekend in 2003 — roughly 18 months before the band split up. But that was about it.

The upside of the story, though, is that for a ticket and a road trip to Louisville on Saturday night of this three-day weekend, you can party with the Voices in your head one last time.

Can't make the trip? Then check out GBVdigital.com. The site has downloads of several shows from the reunion tour available for purchase. Especially recommended is the Dec. 30 performance at Maxwell's in Chicago, when the band, in typical whirlwind fashion, crammed 47 bite-size songs into a 1-hour, 45-minute performance. Now that's what you call efficiency.

Sunday Valley

9 p.m. Jan. 15 at Cosmic Charlie's, 388 Woodland Ave. $5. (859) 309-9499.

You can't help but get swept up into the cow-slinging swing of things when the guitar-trio rumble of All the Pretty Colors kicks off To the Wind and On to Heaven, the long-awaited new album by Sunday Valley.

The primo Lexington voice of cowpunk, roots rock and progressive Americana reflection, Sunday Valley balances wistful folk reflection (Oh, Sarah), giddy electric shuffles that spotlight the revivalistic fervor of guitarist/vocalist/songsmith John Sturgill Simpson (Let Me Know), and lean electric blasts that underscore the rhythm-section drive of bassist Gerald Evans and drummer Edgar Purdom (Jesus Boogie). It all comes together with Duane Lundy's ultra-complimentary production.

The Sunday Valley boys take the music of To the Wind to the stage of Cosmic Charlie's on Saturday for a CD-release celebration.

Sunday Valley on a Saturday night — that's all the weekend fun you need.

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