It had felt like eons since I had seen the Posers live.
I had missed the chaos. The passion. There really is no other punk band in Philly with the same sense of action and purpose. Without much of an introduction, they broke straight into “Exist,” the first track on their new EP, Posers Too. It was almost as though this driving and determined record had come alive, shedding itself clean and making its own appearance front and center at this show. While the studio recording of this track is breathtaking, its even more pronounced in a live setting.
Posers were eerily silent throughout the set. I remember previous shows where the band had been fairly chatty, cracking jokes or vaguely introducing the next song. But this time, they seemed dedicated to powering through the set at warped speed. This didn’t mean that the show was any less engaging. “Copping In Camden” was the next song on the list, and this included frontwoman Jade Anna splayed on the floor, screeching and thrashing through chorus after chorus, with crowd members bowing before her, excited and fascinated and wanting to be ever closer to her performance. “Better Future” came next, which allowed guitarist Rory Cain to shine and let loose a bit. It became clear that the band felt a little tense coming back to the live scene, but after the first few tracks of their set, they were essentially back to their normal, albeit outlandish, behavior.
“Day//Night” was one of the most exciting new songs to hear live. A highlight was getting to see Anna picked up by the crowd, and practically marched around through the small venue space. She appeared calm throughout the experience and didn’t miss a beat of any of her vocal cues. Everything went according to plan. It’s not unusual for the Posers to get up close and personal with the crowd and their fanbase, often trying to cross the line and see how far they can take it. I was happy to hear “Nothing” smack dab in the middle of the set, due to the fact that it’s a natural crowd-pleaser and one of the band’s most beloved songs. It was a nice flow and transition between the old and new, and proved a point that while the Posers are still a relatively new band, their sound has evolved into something that is truly unique to them, and them only. I missed watching bassist Johnny Mick assault the microphone with his vocals, his eyes popping and landing on every face in the crowd.
I believe that “Mannequin” and “Posers” are meant to be played side-by-side. I was thrilled to hear the two played in this order, as I’ve always considered the two tracks to be long lost cousins in the musical catalog that is the Posers. Both songs have their lulled moments, but they are also risky and temperamental. I had the chance to speak with Cain a few moments before they took the stage, and he informed me that the band would be unleashing a new song during the set. I was surprised, and equally as impressed. Hearing “More Than This” was a rush, and it brought me back to the feeling I had when I heard the Posers for the first time. While the band has had a habit of gaining and losing drummers (think Spinal Tap), their latest addition is easily their best. Collin Russert performed as an absolute madman during “More Than This” and his control is top notch. There were drum fills I witnessed that made my head spin, and I don’t want that feeling to ever go away. I gotta see it live again.
My favorite performance of the night was “Protest Song,” not only because it’s my favorite song off of Posers Too, but because I had a good feeling about where the band would take it in a live setting. I wasn’t disappointed. This track was just as energetic and frightening in this live setting as it was in the studio recording. I’ve been blown away by the Posers before, but nothing quite like this. Anna covered every inch of floor space, taking up as much room as she possibly could and allowed the crowd to move in and out of her way as they pleased. Some people may have been nervous, as Anna wasn’t afraid to get into anyone’s face, but I was enamored.
They finally closed out the set with “I Don’t Wanna Know” which felt like the last hurrah to an explosive and volatile experience. One thing I’ve always admired about seeing the Posers live is their ability to turn a show into a full blown living and breathing participation. The crowd is just as important as the band itself. Whether you are standing in the back of the room apprehensive, or if you’re front and center and screaming along, this band is going to make you feel like a part of the show. The beauty of this sort of thing is that you don’t forget it. Maybe you don’t remember the sequence of the setlist. Maybe you can’t recall every word in every chorus. But that’s okay. You’re not going to forget the taste this band left in your mouth, or the way they locked eyes with you in the crowd and triple dog dared you to bush the envelope like them. But that’s the beauty of it. That’s the Posers. It’s okay if you don’t fit in. They don’t either.
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