The Posies 30th Anniversary Tour (Free Concert Series)
Levitt Pavilion Denver
LEVITT PAVILION DENVER – FREE CONCERT SERIES
The Posies 30th Anniversary Tour + Terra Lightfoot
All Ages | General Admission Lawn
Doors at 6:00 PM | Show at 7:00 PM
This event is Rain or Shine.
It’s officially been 30 years since Jon Auer & Ken Stringfellow, high school mates from Bellingham WA, USA, recorded and released “Failure”, a home recorded, self-released cassette that had the improbable fate of landing the band two commercial radio hits and a record deal w the David Geffen Company, where they became labelmates of Sonic Youth, Nirvana & Teenage Fanclub. Now with a legacy of eight critically lauded albums (their latest, “Solid States” was released in 2016), a loyal population of fans around the globe, and a body of work with such classic alternative/indie anthems as “Dream All Day”, “Solar Sister”, “Coming Right Along” and many more, the band is still active and looking forward to its fourth decade in music. The band’s ’90s catalogue is set to be re-released in 2018 by Omnivore Records, and there are plans to start working on a new album soon after. The band has survived the deaths of two longtime members in the last 3 years: bassist Joe Skyward and drummer Darius Minwalla; despite that, they managed to stage a brilliant comeback in 2016 with drummer Frankie Siragusa and do several sold out tours doing pop up shows self-produced concerts in improvised venues and unlikely spaces; indie rock raves, if you will.
For their 30th Anniversary, Omnivore Records will re-release the band’s crucial 1990s catalog “Dear 23”, “Frosting on the Beater”, and “Amazing Disgrace”, as double CDs replete with an astounding number of previously unreleased bonus cuts, and also as double 45 RPM high fidelity LPs. The band is currently running a Pledge Music campaign (https://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/the-posies) for pre-ordering the three albums. Radiohead mentioned to Ken one night out in the pub (in Hollywood, tho) that “Frosting on the Beater” was the most played album in the van during the band’s first American tour; Snow Patrol’s Gary Lightbody & Beach Slang’s James Alex, two name but two, have each put that album in their personal top ten. “Frosting” encapsulates all the elements that make the band timeless the two-voices-as-one interplay of Auer and Stringfellow; thoughtful and literate lyrics; broiling guitars married to shimmering melodies. If the band was out of step with its more brutal Seattle compatriots 25 years ago, it has served them well the times, at last, have caught up to their vision.
To take this celebration around the globe, the Posies, who have had a few lineup changes over the years (always based around the founding duo of Auer & Stringfellow) will be on tour as the 1992-1994 lineup that made “Frosting on the Beater” Jon & Ken will be complemented by drummer Mike Musburger and bassist Dave Fox. It’s been almost a quarter century since this quartet has been on the road, and recent warm up shows have been as explosive as those played by the twentysomethings of yore. Catch the band on tour this spring in North America, and this fall in Europe their time is now, again.
With New Mistakes, Canada’s Terra Lightfoot offers up something rare: the kind of genuine document that can only come from a road-tested breed of songwriter and performer. Shot through with the guitarist-vocalist’s powerful, bluesy soul, vivid lyrics and ferocious six-string virtuosity, it’s an unforgettable outing.
From the ground-shaking stomp of “Paradise” and wild-eyed energy of “Pinball King” that open the set to the psychedelic, gospel-tinged album closer “Lonesome Eyes,” the steeltown native’s third record distills her masterful talent to its electrifying essence.
Produced by Gus van Go and Werner F (Arkells, Sam Roberts Band, Wintersleep), New Mistakes is a heady journey. As poignant as it is rollicking and vulnerable as it is rowdy, it cruises long and sometimes lonesome highways that lead everywhere from brokedown dive bars and endless prairie skies to mountain ranges and the Mojave Desert.
Built around Lightfoot’s killer live band, the session impresses on all counts. It’s Lightfoot’s hungriest and most raw album to date, able to mesmerize with graceful melodies one moment, and step into the ring to deliver a hurricane of hooks or a heart-wrenching chorus the next. Lifted by bright waves of organ and classic roots-rock vibe, “Ruthless” nails that lethal dynamic, slowly building a story of deep connection fraught by distance, until letting loose its knockout crescendo.
Lightfoot’s stunning, soulful voice powers her emotional wallops, laid low as a gentle whisper over the swirling finger-picking of “You Get High,” or belted out with nuclear swagger over the rock ’n’ soul grooves of “Hold You,” battling things out with a righteous Jake Clemons sax solo during its climax.
And the only forces that can go toe-to-toe with Lightfoot’s vocal prowess are her guitar chops. “Slick Back Kid” is a bluesy scorcher, barreling forward with monster riffs, dappled with hits of slide guitar work from guest vocalist Oliver Wood. “Stars Over Dakota” lays down blistering ‘70s grooves between feral blasts of overdrive as Lightfoot howls across the American midwest to someone she can’t stop thinking about. “Drifter” reflects on love long past, with her emotive guitar playing saying what the lyrics cannot.
That’s not to say she’s a tentative wordsmith. Lightfoot’s evolution into a potent songwriter might be captured best on the poignant “Norma Gale”. The tune tells the real life story of its namesake’s battle to make it as a songwriter and bass player in the colourful world of ‘70s country music, fighting to pursue her passion while raising her son alone and touring non-stop. It’s easy to hear why Gale’s story would resonate with Lightfoot: As tried and true road-dogs, they’re kindred spirits, both driven by a creative force they’d be willing to let tear them apart if it had to. And sometimes it does. But, as Lightfoot wails in the song’s transcendent finish—though the trek so far has been long and treacherous, and isn’t likely to let up—“I knew I had to keep on going.” That’s how she got here, after all.
It’s Lightfoot’s relentless commitment to the cause that made this album possible: racking up endless, hard-earned miles, forging and letting go of relationships, and seeking out every sliver of truth in a life on the road that is anything but easy to navigate. It’s an odyssey without a map to guide the way, filled with infinite missteps. But if they all sound as wild and beautiful as this, let’s hope Terra Lightfoot never stops making New Mistakes.
Get Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-posies-30th-anniversary-tour-free-concert-series-tickets-44568375210?aff=es2