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The Posies, Terra Lightfoot, Heavy Looks

  • High Noon Saloon 701 East Washington Avenue Madison, WI, 53703 United States (map)

The '80s power-pop stalwarts mark their 30th anniversary by reminding us why they got started in the first place. Info/tix


What happens when a band built upon retro stylings endures so long that they become a nostalgia act in their own right? Maybe they become timeless.

Formed by high-school buddies Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow in Bellingham, Washington, in the late 1980s, The Posies delivered psychedelia-tinged power-pop that was charmingly out-of-step with the burgeoning thickened punk scene of its Pacific Northwest surroundings. Within a few years, grunge took over and then subsumed alternative rock, and The Posies just kept on with its chunky guitar riffs and chiming melodies.

For the band’s 30th anniversary tour, mainstays Auer and Stringfellow assembled the lineup from the 1993 album Frosting on the Beater, which contained the modern-rock radio hit “Dream All Day.”  Based on the tour's other shows so far, the old pro mojo is strong with the group as they slug their way through songs culled from the band’s entire history. In the current rock landscape, where every past permutation of drums and guitars is remarkably viable, The Posies’ ability to stitch together a setlist filled with sturdy songs that could have sounded just as fresh being bashed out in a 1960s garage as in a 2010s indie club refreshingly makes them, simultaneously and laudably, a museum act and brash upstarts

The Posies are joined on the road by Terra Lightfoot, a Canadian performer who injects a little country stomp into the transmogrified ‘90s guitar rock favored by the likes of Waxahatchee. Her rich, earthy vocals combine with emotionally piercing lyrics elevate her compositions to be something so much more: torch songs. It’s no wonder The Posies usually invite her up to share the mic once or twice during their own set. The Madison stop on the tour also features local power-pop practitioners Heavy Looks. —Daniel Seeger