|The Posies / The President Lincoln – Bristol, The Louisiana – 30 October 2016|
|Written by Rich Hobson|
|Friday, 16 December 2016 05:00|
One of the best things about writing for a kick-ass music website is that if you keep your beadies peeled, you’ll likely find a good few releases that aren’t getting much coverage in the mainstream press. So it was when I stumbled across Ben Hughes review of the excellent Solid States, even a cursory listen was enough to decide that this was one of the power-pop releases of the year.
Flash forward from the Spring release of the album, and The Posies announced a short (but no less exciting) tour, landing at some of England’s finer independent venues. With a Saturday-before-Halloween show at the Leeds Brudenell Social Club nixed (after all, some of us had Hootenannys to attend!), the only sensible option left was to grace Bristol’s favourite living-room sized venue, The Louisiana, for a night of power pop glory.
I’m not the only Uber (Popper) in attendance at the gig though – ex-gaffer Mr Johnny Hayward is also limbering up his sing-along muscles when I arrive at the gig, making this something of a UR family event. And what better for families than some great pop songs with indie sensibility?
Based in the UK and hailing from the US, The President Lincoln (named after a boat, not the man) are the kind of typical hyper-aware affected “cool” band you’d expect to find in New York City. Though the converted-loft surroundings fit at The Louisiana, Bristol isn’t renowned for its cultural elite and so the band are something of a fish-out-of-water, and though The Posies have a similar dry wit undercutting most of their lyrics, the differences between the two bands is apparent.
Where The Posies undercut catchy beats with wry lyrics, The President Lincoln let the beats step into the background so that their lyrics are the focus. After a frenetic weekend of howling in Wolverhampton, such low-fi approaches leave these ears in the cold, but the band win over plenty of support in their brief slot.
And then, it’s time for the main act. It’s a crime that bands as talented as The Posies can be denied a position in the public consciousness, but at the same time, something of a blessing. Not ones to be bitter, The Posies come to The Louisiana fully equipped to connect with the intimate audience, crafting a friendly, familial atmosphere. As somebody who got into the band almost entirely through the Solid States album, it’s great to hear it getting a strong outing at this evening’s gig.
Opening to the stellar 'We R Power!', the band are all flash and style whilst still maintaining a down to earth manner. It pays off in dividends – there is a palpable sense of glee at getting to see the band so up and close, and as they blast through some choice cuts from their just-shy-of-three-decades-with-breaks career.
Sweet, dry and aged like a fine champagne, The Posies are a force to be reckoned with, made only sweeter by the intimate nature of their most recent tour. Theirs is a band that boasts all of the hallmarks of a truly great Indie act, humming with Punk Rock energy whilst still insistently buzzing along honey-syrup melodies. It doesn’t matter if it’s a new tune like ‘Squirrel Vs Snake’ or an older composition like ‘Solar Sister’, the fans receive it with equal zeal.
Though The Louisiana might seem more suited to indie bands first cutting their teeth (or, equally, a great punk dive), the fact remains that the venue’s inherent intimacy creates a unique atmosphere, a comradery between fan and artist a million miles removed from the stadium rock-indie ilk of Pearl Jam or even frontman Ken Stringfellow’s *other* band, REM. This is the kind of gig that creates a special and personal relationship for fans, which in turn creates a sense of fierce pride in the band and their achievements.
Criminal though it might be that The Posies aren’t afforded a bigger space in the public consciousness, there is a palpable sense that venues like The Louisiana are exactly where they fit best. Staying connected on the most intimate level, the band prove that new album or no, they still have plenty of masterpieces left in them yet.