Banner Photo by Alan Lawrence
As someone who was only five years old at the turn of the century, it’s reasonable to assume I didn’t experience the nostalgia exuding from virtually every other person in the audience last Wednesday. For me, seeing The Posies at the Neptune Theatre offered a glimpse into the historic past of Seattle’s music scene, often defined by the creation of the grunge genre, but also home to an evolution in alternative and indie rock.
Electric artist Anomie Belle opened the show in support of her new album, Flux, due out globally in January 2017, and with an accompanying artbook. Given her potential anonymity among Posies fans, just a handful of spectators stood in the pit as Belle began playing. But, as her set continued, more and more people gathered on the floor, visibly intrigued and impressed with her onstage production. We were able to watch Belle build each song, looping violin riffs, percussion tracks, and keyboard melodies before she even started singing. Playing all the parts and juggling many different instruments takes a heck of a lot of talent. Anomie Belle is a master of her craft.
Jon Auer, Ken Stringfellow, and newly tapped drummer Frankie Siragusa, otherwise known as The Posies, opened their set with “We R Power” and “Unlikely Places,” the first two songs off their 2016 release, Solid States. They leapt all over the stage during guitar riffs. Wiping the sweat from his brow, Stringfellow asked the crowed, “So America… What happened? There’s a strange deity writing the script.” The two singers engaged in more banter, mentioning how Monty Python this all feels. (I immediately thought of that scene in Monty Python’s Life of Brian where Eric Idle’s character starts singing “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” while hanging on a crucifix.)
The Posies played a mix of new songs and old favorites, all of which were received with enthusiasm. They invited Anomie Belle out to perform “Licenses to Hide” and “The Glitter Prize” off Blood/Candy (which originally featured Lisa Lobsinger and Kay Hanley, respectively) whose voice blended in perfectly.
“Lots of memories in this place… I think I took acid and saw Jesus Christ Superstar here.” – Jon Auer
It’s not often you can say that a band going on 30 years together sounds just as good as when they started, but this was one of those times. Their voices were strong, falsettos were on point, and guitar solos were shredded. After finishing my second round of midterms earlier that day, this concert was exactly what I hoped for.
For the encore of all encores, Auer and Stringfellow brought out Dave Fox, Mike Musburger, and Arthur Roberts, all former members of The Posies throughout the years. “[Seattle] is still the greatest city in the world,” said Stringfellow, and, watching from deep in the crowd, surrounded by long time fans who screamed their heads off, cheered with beer and fists of support. By the end, I had a deep-seeded feeling of appreciation for music that lasts decades, and that feeling is still with me a few days later.
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