TURF Review: Guided By Voices, Ween, September 17, Fort York

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At any given time during a multi-day festival with multiple stages, it’s practically inevitable that there will be conflicts. Even if an effort is made to schedule bands as unlike each other as possible, there will be conflicts. And while Guided By Voices and Ween don’t share that much in common musically, both bands came to prominence around the same time and both share a certain cultish devotion from their fans, and so there were some who were definitely disappointed when they were scheduled opposite one another on Saturday night.

Having never seen Guided By Voices before, my choice was clear, although I did still manage to catch the first half hour or so of Ween’s set before Robert Pollard and co. took to the stage and it had a a typical Ween feeling, with the band hopping between musical styles and genres from song to song. Perhaps as a nod to this being nominally a “roots” festival, they played some numbers off of 12 Golden Country Greats, including “Piss Up A Rope.”

As the time approached for Guided By Voices, I made my way towards the Rebellion stage, tucked away in a corner of the festival grounds. After opening with “The Quickers Arrive,” Pollard kept the momentum going, as you have to when you’re planning on plowing through as many songs as possible over the course of an hour and 20 minutes. And they did play a lot of songs, many of them not technically GBV numbers, but songs from Pollard’s seemingly innumerable side projects such as Ricked Wicky, Boston Spaceships, and ESP Ohio. The band played plenty of GBV classics though, including “I Am A Scientist,” “Game Of Pricks,” “Teenage FBI,” “Glad Girls,” and “I Am A Tree,” the latter of which featured Pollard assuming the crane kick stance a couple of times as well as him ceding the microphone to guitarist Doug Gillard as he took over lead vocals for a bit.

Guided By Voices played one of the standout sets of the festival and also were, as far as I know, the only band on the bill over the entire weekend to have a sandwich named for them at one of the food trucks – the “Uncle Bob.” Take that, James Bay!

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Posted on by Paul in Concerts

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