I keep not finishing any of the SXSW posts that I start writing because I am too lazy to upload the photos for the third time (they’re already on facebook & flickr) SO I am just going to post a bunch of highlights, starting with my most favorite moment.
During the BLURT Magazine/ Dogfish Head IPA party at The Ginger Man on Friday, March 16, 2012 at SXSW…
This is Jon Auer & Ken Stringfellow playing/singing “Solar Sister” about five feet away from me. I am not able to post my own video of this event because someone (me) was screaming a bit too loudly. I get excited. I can’t help it, especially when I’m in an open space & may have consumed a few glasses of wine. You can see a great video of it here & be sure to listen up for a special name change in the middle. When I heard it live, I thought it was just my imagination. Actually, this whole night was nearly out of my imagination.
Earlier in the evening, Ken started his set with my most favorite of his songs, “Any Love (Cassandra et Lune)” & also played my second favorite, “One Morning” as well as a boatload of great new songs whose titles I don’t know.
Mmmmm… Gretsch. I love Gretsch.
I have continued my trend of being too close to get good shots. Luckily, I have great memories despite having a crappy memory. I shot this with my newly acquired Sony Mavica CD-400. When we stopped in Delaware on the way to Texas, my brother gave me it because he wasn’t using it anymore. I had previously had the 300, 400 & 500. As my dad upgraded, I would get the old one. I would then find a way to crack the LCD screen. One time it was because someone said they saw a snake & I fell while running away. Motherfuckin’ snakes. Unfortunately, we weren’t in any one place long enough to charge the batteries fully so I didn’t shoot too much with this.
This was also our first time seeing Jon Auer solo. His “Burn & Shine” medley was particularly exceptional. He didn’t break any strings though. This might be the first time we’ve seen him play & not break a string.
His open hand was begging for a glowing orb.
I know driving to Texas isn’t free, but did I mention this was a free show? It was AND there was more greatness to follow when Jody Stephens joined in for some rollicking Big Star songs.
Many special guests came out, including some of the great “Third” singers/players, John Doe, the guy from Blitzen Trapper, Ian Moore & Peter Buck from R.E.M. I kept thinking Peter Buck looked like Bill Murray so I couldn’t say hello because I kept laughing, expecting him to start reciting “Groundhog’s Day” lines (because I am sure that is what the real Bill Murray does when he isn’t loading Tia Carrere’s band van).
I should start taking notes of set lists or get a new battery for my video camera so I can at least have a poor recording to reference. Suffice it to say that this only fed my frenzy of adoration for these guys. Every time we see them together, I fear it will be the last time & I don’t ever want that to be the case. I do want the next show to be somewhere where it is ok to dance though. The sitters behind me weren’t too keen on my desire to dance to “September Gurls.” I hate sitting down almost as much as I hate being quiet.
These guys are the greatest. Induct them into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame now please (& don’t forget John Fry).
“I keep dreaming of a map of the world. I keep searching the sky. I keep seeing the traffic signals passing me by…”
Oh, The Posies.
So, as I write this, I am still teary eyed from reading the lyrics to “Take Care of Yourself” (reminded me of my dad). One of the many exquisite aspects of The Posies’ music is the way in which the music hits me one way so completely & I feel as though nothing could make this any better but then I read the lyrics apart from the music & I am hit once again…
On September 23, 2010 we attended The Posies “Blood/Candy” Record Release Party at The Rock Shop in Brooklyn. Besides hearing early acoustic versions of a few of the songs & “The Glitter Prize,” I had 43 seconds of “Licenses to Hide” downloaded on my phone & I kept playing it from youtube. Otherwise, I don’t really like to hear new songs until I have the real thing in my hand. As a big proponent of making the first listen a special experience, I am not sure it could get any more special than hearing it LIVE! Waiting outside, I heard “Licenses to Hide” & it is just a beautiful song totally unwarranting of Ken’s “Blow-hemian Crap-sody” description. I do believe it has a Queen feel to it but it is far from crap. Nice try, humble Ken. I think it is my favorite. I cannot stop stomping my foot along to the kick drum. Outside, I got so into it that I bumped my head on the glass.
In an atmosphere like this, only really knowing those two songs, I think a lesser band with a less great album could have lost the audience with the songs that had yet to be heard but song after song, they were all really great! “So Caroline” really stuck out for me as did “For The Ashes” which at first listen seemed like a companion to “Everyone Moves Away” & “Cleopatra Street” was super groovy but the song that seemed to rock the hardest & move me the most (even before I knew the lyrics) was “Take Care of Yourself.” The music just hit me. I cried (if you read alot of these, you know that if it makes me cry, I really like it) because it was such a big, beautiful piece of music. Everything about it just clicked with me. I knew The Posies would be great but I really was not prepared for them to be THIS great. After the “Blood/Candy” set, they played a few older tracks including, “Sad To Be Aware” which made me very happy to be there. I was standing on the bench at this point & nearly fell off with excitement, especially at the “His name is Michael row your boat ashore” line that always gets stuck in my head.
After seeing this show, I am further convinced that most music critics & concert reviewers have no fucking clue about what “rocks.” The Posies ROCK! Now that I have “Blood/Candy,” I expect the November shows to be even better when I can sing along (sorry, neighbors). I really like that the album versions are beautiful but when you hear them live they’re beautiful AND dirty. There’s a real GRRRRRRR to them. (Sorry, I’m not a critic so I feel no need to turn any of those words into flowery bullshit.) These pictures are really not that great. The light was really low & I was, once again, a bit too close… Oh, & I was excited too. I’ll be better prepared at The Highline & maybe Memphis if we can get the money to get down there. If not, I think we’ll have to go to Philly too. I can’t get enough.
So, after the show, I had to wait almost FIVE days to get the album. Luckily, Jack’s Music in Red Bank (yes I will give them a plug because they are awesome) had it (or you can order it here where I ordered the LP). The rainy weather held up just long enough for me to keep the top down for the entirety of my first listen.
Besides “Licenses to Hide” making me almost hit the car in front of me when I kept lifting my entire right foot off the brake pedal, the song that really got me was “For The Ashes.” I would really like to say that it sounded like a cross between The Beatles & Queen but I think that takes away from the originality of The Posies so I suppose you should strike that remark from my record. Much as “Take Care of Yourself” moved me in concert, the beauty of this track moved me to tears. I wish it wasn’t so odd to admit things like that, but if something is so beautiful, shouldn’t it make you feel something? I think people are losing their ability to feel. My remedy for this – stop listening to whatever trendy band du’jour you read was cool & go out & listen to live music. Keep listening until you find something that makes you feel. Passion is a good thing. Get some. Oh, & buy “Blood/Candy” because I said so & that completely contradicts what I just said 🙂
I have said it before & I will say it again – Jon Auer & Ken Stringfellow are not capable of making music that is anything less than great. Darius & Matt certainly add to the rockin’ness of The Posies. Go see them! Buy their stuff! Tell your friends!
Photos (C) Conn! Please do not use them without permission unless you are The Posies in which case, maybe you want to wait until I take some better ones.