Bootleg Bin: Guided by Voices – 09-03-02 Case Western Reserve University

Here’s a thick slab of irony. These kings of the lo-fi aesthetic have released a myriad collection of studio and live discs, and their general approach to recording betrays an interest in getting it down on tape and moving on. Oft-compared to The Who, GbV is one of those groups about whom it is said that it’s tough to pin down their sound on record; you gotta see them live (the Voices went silent with the dissolution of the band in December 2004, but in 2012 they’re baaaaack).

So how odd to spin a CDR of a bootleg soundboard from the group’s show at CWSU in 2002 and find excellent fidelity and thoughtful mixing! Lead singer/guitarist Bob Pollard rattles off the songs with the same on-to-the-next-one approach he’s brought to his whole career, but the songs hold up even under that assault. The set list is jam-packed full of songs from throughout the GbV canon. A few covers are even thrown in, including one from the aforementioned Who. Every song is played as if it were a hit. Which, in some fair and just alternate universe, it would be.

Difficulty to Locate: 6 out of 10
General Listenability: 9 out of 10

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