A Night of Power Pop

The Posies headline a night of power pop to remember. September 29, 2005, Bowery Ballroom, NYC.

At the early hour of 10pm, I stumble into the Bowery Ballroom as The Deathray Davies are making their way through a set full of power chords and quick stops and starts. The Deathray Davies have many band members, each one bringing their own sound and demeanor to the table; the man playing the maracas has stolen my heart tonight, he has a long beard and seems the most fantastic.

Next on the bill is Oranger, a small band with a following of screaming women and tight pants-wearing middle-aged men. Their sound is poppier than The Deathray Davies and the keyboardist almost outdoes the maraca player. His solos make the organ's chords spin out of control, surely the rock star of his band. Insane keyboardists are not as rare as one would assume, but this one is actually good. Each Oranger song is keyboard-enthused, unlike a lot of rock music. These songs have character.

Yet, during the break, I just keep thinking to myself, I want the Posies to go on! And they do, full of charm, reverence and pure hilarity. The Posies are like cult gods to the NYC audience tonight. One woman cannot control herself - hailing from Helsinki, she wails, "Come to Finland; this audience is lame!" All that she accomplishes is riling up the crowd, getting them more excited for the Posies. The audience is loving every moment of the banter between the band and their loyal fans. And the fans are rewarded at the encore when the Posies ask people to come up on stage and dance. Surprisingly, the Finnish personage who was so vivaciously loud does not express interest in sharing the stage with her favorite band.

Musically, the performance is awesome. Like Alice Cooper in appearance, the guitarist/keyboardist goes crazy. His performance encompasses uppity solos and as many 'rock moments' as there are stars in the sky. And, yes, elements of the Posies can be compared to stars in the sky. Just listen to their lyrics and musical intent. When he plays the keyboard, he plays with such fervor one can't tell if it is part of the song or if all of it is ad-lib. Like brighter constellations, nice introductions are given to familiar songs, such as "a sentimental love song" for the favorite, "Confessions."

Each song is played with more power than the previous, but the ever important 'crowd control' was established in the beginning of their set. The voracious banter suddenly turns into crowd involvement and stripping at the end of their set. The guitarist/keyboardist takes off his shirt during an extended solo and he and the lead singer head down to the audience to feverishly play a song. They move down to their fans' level and complete what is necessary for the Posies to be the type of band that they are.

Their fans are loyal because the Posies are loyal to their fans, end of story.

- Nancy Wolfe