You better move it, sweet babe
Hey, on down to your shoes

Things, they're right, mama
You know it'll work out fine...

"Guess I'm Falling In Love," The Velvet Underground, 1967

I think I'm still taking it all in, and might be taking it all in for awhile.

You know how when things that shouldn't work out for every conceivable, sensible, predictable reason, sometime actually work out? And, even more spectacularly rarely, when that thing that should have been maybe a hot ol' mess turns out to be really, REALLY great? That's what happened this past weekend in Florida, as we brought Lars Finberg (The Intelligence) together with West Palm Beach band Cop City Chill Pillars and other musicians to play shows at Dada in Delray Beach and Gramps in Miami. What what what, you ask? Here's a bit of the backstory timeline:

-- I plan to surprise my daughter with a trip to Florida on Christmas to visit our friends the Budowskys. I ask Rob and Stacy B. if there are any good concerts happening during our stay, and we start mulling around the idea of putting one together ourselves. Hmm...I think, although I have never arranged a show in my life. We ponder.
-- After weeks of airfare-watching, I break down and buy our pricey plane tickets. Almost immediately afterward, I see that the Intelligence, the band that made my FAVORITE ALBUM this year, has booked a show for New Year's Eve in SEATTLE when I am in Florida. I extend extremely loud and despairing lamentations skyward, punctuated by obscene hand gestures.
-- Hmm, I hmm, HMM.
-- I pathetically whine to Lars about missing the Intelligence because I am going to Florida, and with some hesitation mention that I was thinking of maaaaaybe asking if he'd would ever maaaaaaybe be interested in flying down then and play or DJ for our show that we want to do, although I have zero idea of exactly how that would ever work out. Pro, huh?
-- Lars replies something like, damn or oh no or gosh golly, that would have been really cool. No, wait...he said, "crud."
-- TING!, my brain ting-ed. This is the sound my head makes when it steels itself in clarified determination. Why wait for something good to happen? GO MAKE IT HAPPEN! Hey!, my spinal cord chimed in because it's a JERK, hey, you lady, what do you know about all this, nada is what! SHURRUP, I told the cord, let my brain run with this. There are tons of nice people in SoFla that love cool music and we will figure it out!

To make an impossibly complex and long story short(er), we did! This very-strange-yet-amazing convergence of people, places, and things came together (with MAJOR MAJOR work from Kismet Vintage's Aly Gore and the folks at Dada, the Buds, Gramps' Adam Gersten, Steev Rullman at Pure Honey, Cop City Chill Pillars, and The Lars Himself) to get Lars from Seattle to SoFla to play a night of Velvet Underground covers in a beautiful old home converted into a restaurant and performance space and then to perform CCCP songs + the VU songs + DJ at the newest, hippest bar in Miami's Wynwood Art District. Lars is either very trusting or slightly crazy (or both; the best combo, I feel), to go cross-country on a redeye flight to learn all-new-to-him songs with Cop City at their rehearsal space in just a couple of days, and the Cop City dudes were incredibly cool to agree, too -- not every band would be willing and eager to also take a chance on doing something different.

When I first walked into Dada from the front porch into the two tiny front rooms that make up the space, I wondered where the bands would be playing. Right in front of the lovely old fireplace right on the floor, as soon as the dining tables were cleared out, I found out. People milled about chatting and drinking, girls and guys eyed up velvet-y groovy clothes from the Kismet Vintage sale rack, and the air was warm and sweet...some kind of spark was beginning to happen.

(Click on the photos to enlarge, or go to Flickr and see them all!)

Each band was to play short sets (2 to 5 songs each) of VU material of choice, Black Seal up first, totally kicking ass.

Next, the two very lovely ladies of Beach Day, missing their regular drummer, but their bassist amiably switched to drums for their 2-song set. I would have loved to listen to moremoremore from them!

The room was absolutely packed for Lars' set with Cop City Chill Pillars -- so much so that when I returned from the bar with a couple of drinks, the only place I could squeeze in to shoot was sitting cross-legged right in front. I pretended I was Edie Sedgwick for a second and went with it.

As the music started, I began to get the feeling that I get when something is YESYESYES -- not to sound too terribly corny, but it's like the smile starts from the core of me and then just warms through everything and finally lands on my face. Everything was right, everyone was 100% on their game, and it was perfect rock n' roll. How??? I don't even know, but that's the truth.

I know it's not the same thing, but this is as close as I can get ya! Here's the full VU set from Lars' and Cop City Chill Pillars: Guess I'm Falling In Love, Waiting For The Man, What Goes On, Sheltered Life, White Light/White Heat!

Justin Crumpton of Nightmare Boyzzz joined Black Seal for a bonus jam afterwards, too!

The crowd was totally into it, and no kidding, the buzz of it lasted well after the show was done and into the next day...and is still going. "Magic" is overused to describe everything, but it's really the only word that works, for nothing readily explainable would make anything so unlikely to come together be that good, or affect so many for so long. I can't tell you how many people came up to me afterward with these huge smiles, saying how great it was. Music can be a kind of magic.

Part Two at Gramps in Miami tomorrow!