Ken Stringfellow of
the Posies reviews the Posies at the Neptune Theatre, 11/19

The Seattle Posies show, at the Neptune Theatre on November 19, was our 5th Seattle area show during the period around our album Blood/Candy. With our long history in the Pacific Northwest, we are considered a local band—even though now only one of us lives in Seattle, and maybe not for long.

I have been living in France for 8 years myself. So Seattle is always a mix of homecoming and also a reflection of the changes that have happened since I left—my house is long sold, my life and its focus are on to different things. There’s people that I have consciously let go from my life. And, my day was spent mostly with friends that I have made either since or just prior to leaving Seattle—my friend Brian, who is my host, wine and tennis buddy, and who released one of my recent albums—and Kim Voynar, with whom I’m working on a film, her first short.

I think having a kind of objectivity about Seattle at this point—it’s not home, exactly, anymore—was crucial in a way for making this show such a success. I could treat the audience like an audience, and be very unselfconscious. I could act naturally.

I remember in the early years of our band, our hometown shows were such big events for us—we were trying to make an impression not just on our fans but also our peers, our friends—the shows were in much bigger venues than we could play elsewhere, so the pressure was really on. They were good, sometimes great, but also sometimes not 100% satisfying. Expectations were so high, how could we not disappoint ourselves, a little?

This show was, in many ways, perfect. The new venue (a cinema since the 1920s, it became a music venue just this fall) looked gorgeous and sounded dynamite—we had a long, leisurely soundcheck. Jon’s amp broke, Matt’s bass broke—and no one panicked. We drove over to the local music store and got it all sorted out.

As tour manager, I had duties that kept me in the building all evening—I counted in and organized the merch, did the books, got the guest list ready. Made sure the bands playing with us, Star Anna & the Laughing Dogs and Curtains For You, all had what they needed. Food was brought in. And wine—I had my own special stash in the production office. I spent time watching the rough cut of Kim’s film and going over the finer points of the concept for the score with her.

By staying in the venue, I was acclimated, calm. My family didn’t come to this particular show, so I had no one I needed to wrangle or sort out. I popped out onstage to join Curtains For You for a tune, which went very well, and I had a good look at a very full house.

Then came our set. It’s true that having some wine before the show gave me a kind of light, airy, ethereal feeling. We had energy, and the audience was there for us. The sound onstage was loud and enveloping.

But here’s the weird thing. By the time we played our 20 songs, worked the merch table, got the gear loaded up, and out the door, when I was heading back to my guest room bed in West Seattle, I had the strangest feeling—what just happened? I was so focused, so purely in the moment, I think like never before—that the moments went by, and vaporized as new moments came in to replace them.

I can’t tell you much about this show, but I think it was incredible—I know my voice felt and sounded great, I know I played guitar perfectly well. I made funny jokes. My bandmates all performed spectacularly. But the show is the show, and it only exists at that time. Even a live recording of this show wouldn’t tell me what it’s really like to be there—it’s a simulacrum, an echo.

And less than twelve hours later I was on my way back to France, where I would pass by my home briefly and continue on to Brussels, where I have been since, recording my fourth solo album, a task of immense importance to me, totally absorbing and, like the show, a self contained, totally unique moment in my life, the experience of which will only partially be hinted at by the aftermath.

It only dawned upon me that, with no real plan in place to record a new Posies album, and with many major projects in my agenda for the next couple of years, I can’t say when we’ll have another Seattle show, although I am sure opportunities for the band will pop up, they always do. It’s always the case—the moments we want to keep are the ones shooting by.

The paradox of enjoying the moment to the fullest is that you lose yourself in the enjoyment and in participation in that moment—so you don’t have the full byproduct of enjoyment—memories. I see flashes in my head of the blue walls of the theatre, of the four of us onstage, of Star Anna joining us for a song. But it’s no movie, and I don’t want one—the impressions, the snippets are so intriguing.

And the paradox comes around—I regain the pleasure in the missing memories because I can imagine what isn’t there…yes, that’s trippy, and cosmic, and yes, that’s how I feel about the night.

And with that…I join the current night in its theme of cosmic silence, already in progress…memories already being forgotten for tomorrow’s dreams.



ICP Studios, Brusselz

All photos: Tony Kay

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