Guitarists and songwriters Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow were barely out of high school when they first formed and fronted alternative rock outfit the Posies in the late 1980s in Bellingham, Wash.
Last year, the two marked the Posies’ 30th anniversary, a milestone for a band that gained major label renown with power-pop records like Dear 23 and Frosting on the Beater in the early ’90s, and who continue to produce well-received albums like 2016’s Solid States.
After a year-long anniversary tour as a full band, the Posies will pare down to the duo of Auer and Stringfellow for a special seated show with opener Rebecca Blasband on Jan. 19 at Sweetwater Music Hall in Mill Valley.
“It was a great experience,” says Stringfellow of the band’s recent anniversary tour. “It’s wonderful that this music can still have a life and give us a life.”
While the band’s overall lineup has changed several times in 30 years, the heart of the group has always been Auer and Stringfellow’s collaborative, competitive and fraternal musical relationship.
Jon, says Stringfellow, “was definitely a prodigy, an absolutely technically proficient guitar player at age 13. We competed a lot, and the competition we have brought us good things in the art, but sometimes it can get personal.”
Stringfellow notes that, through ups and downs, the two have managed to come out on the other side still dedicated to making music together.
“This anniversary was a much needed celebration,” says Stringfellow. “I think we have a nice little momentum going.”
For the upcoming show in Mill Valley, the duo will still play an electric set, though they plan to showcase the Posies’ harmonious side in the intimate setting.
“As a rock band, we play very hard,” says Stringfellow. “It’s bombastic and it’s loud, and the songs we have support that—but I think we have also have nice vocal harmonies, melodies and lyrics that go in all sorts of different directions.”
In addition to offering their classic songs in a new light, Stringfellow notes that this duo tour will be a chance to think about more music.
“One of the things this tour is about,” he says, “is to get together and spend long car rides talking about how we’re going to do the next record, whatever the next record is.”
The Posies perform on Saturday, Jan. 19, at Sweetwater Music Hall, 19 Corte Madera Ave., Mill Valley. 8pm. $25–$30. 415.388.3850.