Memories of great performances loom large in any band’s reflections. Moments shared between the performers and their audiences create bonds that aren’t easily broken. Even more lasting, however, are the bonds forged among members when they go on tour. Recently I sat down with Tampa-by-way-of-Lakeland band Poster to hear about their recent adventures on the road, which ranged from fecal mishaps to a desperate search for a serpentine belt.
Founded in 2011 by singer/guitarist Connor Kirby, Poster originally consisted of just two members, Kirby and guitarist Stratton Roberts. Over the next three years, they were joined by drummer Elias Breitner, bassist Tim Anderson and guitarist Danny Dalen, and toured briefly around Florida to promote their first album, Cassette. For their second album, Brandt, they chose a more ambitious itinerary: a 10-day journey in a Honda CRV (June 19-29) to Tallahassee, Savannah, Asheville, Bethesda, College Park [MD], Philadelphia, and Atlanta.
The first show, in Tallahassee, was home to “The Drunken Encounter.”
“During our show in Tally,” said Anderson, “this random drunk guy stumbled into the cafe where we performing. He had been walking by outside and heard us and said our music ‘pulled him right inside.’ It was flattering until we kept having to pull the guy away. It was cool getting all those loud compliments from him, though.”
While inebriated fans certainly aren’t out of the ordinary for band performances, the trip from Tallahassee to Savannah held a really unfortunate surprise.
“Yeah… we completely missed the Savannah show,” said Breitner. “We got stranded on the side of the highway for hours when the car broke down. We did eventually find out what the problem was: We needed a new serpentine belt.
Unfortunately, we had to make the trek to the nearest place with belts at least five times and it wasn’t a short walk. We kept having to go back and forth to figure out which serpentine belt we needed.”
“Danny’s grandparents saved us, though,” said Kirby with a laugh. “They got us a hotel room in Brunswick, Georgia, to stay in for the night.”
After the repairs were made to their vehicle, the six passengers piled into the five-seater and continued up the road to their third show, in Asheville.
“The night before,” said Anderson, “we didn’t have any toilet paper. So I was forced to hold it… I thought I could make it.”
“Tim crawled into the trunk of the car and we wondered what he was doing,” said Roberts. “We found out that Tim had shit his boxers and had pulled them off. He was completely naked in the trunk for the rest of the trip to North Carolina.”
I could tell immediately, as the rest of the band erupted into laughter, that this was the sort of behind-the-scenes story that the bassist would never live down. “It wasn’t that bad,” muttered Anderson.
The shows in Asheville and Bethesda went off, for the most part, without a hitch. The host of the house show in Bethesda did, however, force the band to remove their shoes. House rules still applied, it seemed, even during a concert.
“While we were in the area, we got to spend a day visiting D.C.,” said Breitner. “That was by far my favorite part of the trip.”
“We’re pretty sure we saw the president, too,” Roberts added. “There was a parade of like, 15 black cars. Who else needs that many decoy cars?”
The band’s time in Maryland was marked by two parking tickets, one at a train station. “The second ticket was stupid,” said Dalen. “Apparently it’s illegal to park on a street anywhere between 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. in Maryland.”
“There aren’t even any signs that say it,” said Roberts. “It’s like some unspoken rule that apparently everyone just automatically knows.”
The band collectively agreed that the show in Philadelphia was the best of the tour. “The show where we didn’t make any mistakes,” Breitner called it.
“We also walked around the campus of Penn,” said Roberts. “We left a mark.”
In honor of Tampa, the band graffitied a bench on campus to say “PENN sucks, USF rules.” That piece of Tampa, and Poster, will remain in Philly forever — or at least until the bench is painted or replaced.
So began the journey back south. After a 12-hour drive to North Carolina, the band continued on to Atlanta for the final show of the tour. Hearing the band’s stories reminded me of the phrase “getting there is half the fun,” an idea so commonly lost to us nowadays with our focus on quick and painless travel.
As the band’s reminiscing drew to a close, they began thinking of places they might consider visiting on future tours. Philadelphia again, Chicago, Seattle, and New Jersey were all popular.
“And Savannah, finally,” said Breitner, to everyone’s laughter.
Poster is now in the process of releasing a third album, and performs with Transcendental Telecom and Fictional Friends at The Bends this Sat., Aug. 8; admission is free.