Last spring, on the eve of Guided by Voices' "Earthquake Glue" tour, an early-morning conversation with Robert Pollard turned to the topic of Rod Stewart and the bounder's new career as an interpreter of big-band standards. Pollard, an ardent supporter of the kind of shaky rock & roll Stewart once championed with the Faces, seemed philosophical about Rod's softening.
"Ah, well, some people mellow with age. I find myself mellowing slightly," Pollard mused. "I'm not up there with Rod yet, in wives or age, but I think it's best to do that naturally with your age." A month later, with Guided by Voices in tow, Pollard put the lie to his claims of mellowing, tearing apart Mississippi Nights with the kind of bleary-eyed, stiff-pricked rock that is normally the young man's domain. A whirling, karate-kicking, gut-shot madman on stage, Pollard hustled through GBV's extensive catalog of hit songs as if this was either his first or his last time to do so. Pollard's obvious enthusiasm for the live-show ritual, the act of re-creating his songs in a winner-take-all atmosphere, guarantees that if he ever does slow down, he'll still be twice the performer ol' Rod ever was.
Guided by Voices returns to the scene of last year's good time, Mississippi Nights (914 North First Street, 314-421-3853), to do it all over again for the first time. There will be sing-alongs, shout-alongs and the bizarre stage banter Pollard is famous for, along with about 200 of the greatest pop songs ever written. Tickets are $15, and the show starts at 8 p.m. -- Paul Friswold
Beefcake, Over Easy
Fill in the blank: I like my men __________ (smothered, covered, scattered, chunked, topped, diced, peppered or leathered). If you chose "leathered," or any combination of the above with "leathered," dinner at the Waffle House this Saturday night is not going to satisfy you -- but we know what will: the 23rd annual Mr. Missouri Leather competition at JJ's Clubhouse (3858 Market Street). The contest starts at 11 p.m., and the men o' leather will be judged on Q&A, cruisewear, physique/body and image in leather. And all this for a mere $5, which will only get you coffee and a short stack elsewhere. For more info call 314-535-4100 or check out www.jjsclubhouse.com. -- Amy Helms
Rhythm, soul and life captured with paint: The art of cbabi (pronounced kuh-bobby) bayoc invokes the caricature work of Sebastian Kruger mixed with a modern Picasso drunk on jazz instead of absinthe. bayoc's Afro-centric expressionism has won him many famous fans, including Prince, who, along with collecting bayoc's work, asked to use his painting Reine Keis Quintet as the cover for The Rainbow Children. You don't have to be rich or famous, however, to see bayoc's work; just be standing in the right place as his new Celebrate 2004 Art Bus (on the Southampton Route) goes by, or visit www.bayocstudio.com. -- Erik Carlson
Gambling has gone mainstream lately with the advent of televised poker tournaments featuring commentators and celebrity players. Those whose curiosity goes beyond Texas Hold 'Em may find learning intimidating when it involves dropping money at the table in an actual casino. Try the City Museum-hosted Casino Night instead (701 North 15th Street, 314-231-2489; 7:30-10:30 p.m.); it's a great opportunity to learn games in a low-pressure atmosphere or to hone the skills you already have, and proceeds benefit Hostelling International and its effort to open a quality local hostel. $25 gets you unlimited blackjack, roulette and craps (using play money) and chances at prizes. So dig deep, and let it fly. Baby needs a new pair of shoes. -- Jedidiah Ayres