The Posies aren’t exactly young anymore — Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer have been playing together since the ’80s. They’ve broken up and reformed, they both have other jobs and they just ended a seven-year drought between studio albums. But taking the stage at the Bowery Ballroom on Sept. 29, the foursome (current rhythm section: drummer Darius Minwalla and bassist Matt Harris) was bursting with energy befitting a rock band two decades its junior.
The professionals, dressed in black, bounded aboard and quickly whipped up the chugging hum that opens up “Definite Door,” from their 1993 breakthrough album, “Frosting on the Beater.” At breaks between mic time, Stringfellow took to spitting furious bursts of saliva straight into the air above him and happily strumming his guitar while shaking his hair in the resulting shower. Auer was more restrained mobility-wise, but he had a ball with his guitar, tossing it up high in the air repeatedly, and wielding it aloft to fan the audience with sound.
The set list drew most heavily from “Frosting” and its 1996 follow-up “Amazing Disgrace,” along with a heaping handful of material from the group’s new set, “Every Kind of Light.” Fan reaction was boisterous for some of the retro material, especially the jagged rocker “Please Return It” and the shimmering “Apology,” from the band’s first Geffen record, “Dear 23.” But the band was at its best when playing the new songs.
“Second Time Around” was especially jubilant with riffs careening around the stage. Minwalla and Harris were obviously in their comfort zone as well, with material they helped write in the studio. A fiery “I Guess You’re Right” followed and provided more spit showers and guitar pyrotechnics.
The Bowery dance floor wasn’t so packed, so the two front men thought it would be a lark to get down with the people, lowering mic stands onto the floor to perform old favorites like “Grant Hart” and “Dream All Day.”
Back on the stage, the Posies showed their professionalism again with a cursory encore break. “We’re not here to waste your time,” Stringfellow declared amiably as he wandered right back on stage with a drink. A riotous version of new track “I Finally Found a Jungle I Like” closed things out in proper party fashion, and Stringfellow soon bounded out from backstage to man the merchandise table, another successful night in rock for a pair of career musicians still out to have a good time after all these years.
Here is the Posies’ set list:
“Please Return It”
“Second Time Around”
“I Guess You’re Right”
“You’re the Beautiful One”
“Dream All Day”
“Everybody Is a F**king Liar”
“Flavor of the Month”
“I Finally Found a Jungle I Like”