The Posies at Venue

The Posies at Venue

The Posies at Venue, Vancouver, Dec 10 2010. Robyn Hanson photo.

Review and photos – The Posies at Venue Vancouver, Dec 10 2010

– review by Shawn Conner/photos by Robyn Hanson

The Posies have been touring with Brendan Benson. Besides being a Raconteur, along with Jack White, Benson has a couple of superlative solo albums to his credit. So the tour is a double-bill made in power-pop heaven, and the melodic bounty flowing out of Venue’s speakers Friday night was manna for the assembled.

But, this being power-pop – that hybrid that is too pop for the rock crowd and too rock for the flimsy-pop crowd – the room was only two-thirds full, if that.

Following a set by Seattle’s Aqueduct, The Posies backed up Benson as he ran through a set of sun-dazzled California pop like the Motown stomper “Garbage Day” and “Cold Hands Warm Heart”. And that was good, but it wasn’t until The Posies came out with guns blazing that the night took a turn to become one of the best shows I’ve seen so far this year.

Brendan Benson at Venue, Dec 10 2010. Robyn Hanson photo

Brendan Benson at Venue, Dec 10 2010. Robyn Hanson photo

Now, I can’t remember seeing the band back in the day – it’s likely, but there’ve been a lot of shows since. Whatever the case, I wasn’t prepared for the rock monster that is The Posies – frontmen Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow put tons of rock muscle behind every glittery pop song. Stringfellow was especially nutso, jumping and leaping and playing the hell out of his guitar at every opportunity.

Debra-Jean Creelman makes an appearance

Giving the show a hometown feel, Vancouver’s own Debra-Jean Creelman (of Debra-Jean and the Means, and formerly of Mother Mother) came up to sing co-lead on a song from Blood/Candy, the group’s first new album in five years. Meanwhile, Stringfellow and Auer were full of witty banter about Canada and Vancouver. Nestled amongst the new songs were The Posies classics everyone had come for – “Solar Sister”, “Golden Blunders” and, early in the set, the invigorating “Dream All Day”.

The Posies at Venue, Vancouver Dec 10 2010. Robyn Hanson photo

Debra-Jean Creelman with Jon Auer and The Posies at Venue, Dec 10 2010. Robyn Hanson photo.

The band saved one of its greatest rock weapons, “Flavor of the Month”, for the end. Introducing the song, Auer dedicated it to all the club-hoppers waiting outside for the dance hoedown to start. A punk thrashing of the tune followed, letting everyone – musicians and audience – enjoy a few moments of righteous indignation that this music we loved never did, and probably never would, catch on in  a big way.

Meanwhile, a few blocks away, 16,000 people watched Roger Waters construct Pink Floyd‘s The Wall. Gah.

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