Wednesday, 19 May 2010

492 KEN STRINGFELLOW AND JON AUER, London Highbury "Upstairs at the Garage", Tuesday 6 March 2001

The wrong gig on the wrong night! Left at 4.30 after a half day, but then took ages to get over to the Garage after our usual left turn at the Angel Centre, thanks to Arsenal's Champion's League game just round the corner, metaphorically speaking. Then, after Tim and crew turned up to meet up with Rachel and myself, he told us that the previous night's "Posies" show at Dingwalls, which we'd not bothered with in favour of tonight's show, was a full-blown band affair, which lasted for a crazy old 2 hours! D'oh!

This one, however, was always going to be 2 individual acoustic sets from the Posies 2 singers, songwriters and main inspirations. Jon Auer, the shorter, bulkier and slightly more pure pop oriented of the two, was first up, strumming a blood covered guitar, a legacy of the "carnage" (his word for it!) of the previous night. Jon's set was a splendid and spangly affair of mainly new material, but with the characteristic chord structures which were always a staple ingredient of the Posies poppier moments. A lovely "Perfect Size" and another startling rendition of the Psychedelic Furs' "Love My Way" climaxed a set full of fine pop moments and tequila-fuelled stories.

Bumped into Jon himself on my way back from the gents afterwards, taking the opportunity as an old P-Furs fan to thank him for reviving "Love My Way" and asking him to say "hey" to old friend and fellow Seattle resident Phil Hurley. Enjoyed a brief chat with a friendly and personable guy.

Ken, the tall, angular and more emotive Posie, joined us at 10. Wearing an "Expectant Father" t-shirt, Ken regaled us with a heartfelt and emotional set of his more bittersweet pop melodies. Switching between a trusty sparkling 6-string guitar and a laptop keyboard (the Hammond Organ, all 1,200 pounds of wood, wouldn't fit in the overhead bins of the 737, apparently!) and also regaling us with some fun stories, particularly about Joe "Bass" Skyward's plans for that very same evening (!), Ken juxtaposed his achingly raw melodies with an irreverent style. However, after one particularly emotional track, Ken left the stage briefly and on returning, it was clear he'd put a great deal of himself into the delivery, and needed to vent in private.

A splendid "Find Yourself Alone", prior to which he dealt efficiently with a couple of drunken hecklers, was the highlight of the evening for me. 2 fine sets from 2 very talented tunesmiths, well worth the nightmare journey there - and home too, with terrible rain and even worse roadworks delays on the A40M!

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