I went to bed last night smiling, I woke up smiling, and am still smiling many hours later. I may look like a DAMN FOOL, but that's what kind of night it was as The Intelligence, one of my very super-favorite bands of all time, played Seattle's Chop Suey club on a drizzly Saturday night. The last time I saw smartypants bandleader Lars Finberg, it was during our wild, weird, and wonderful Florida "Velvet Underground" show trip, where he performed with West Palm Beach's Cop City Chill Pillars. I was FIRED UP to hear Lars play his own songs again, because I like them all. That's really handy. The room was filled with friends, bands, friends in bands, friends who used to be in a band, bands that used to be friends, friends that I haven't met yet, and a few other people that smelled like the hot dog stand outside the club door. It was a happy, very Seattle, scene.

(The Intelligence, Chop Suey, Seattle 4/20/13)

The evening began with a mini-pizza party next door at Piecora's Pizza, where two pitchers of beer and two 'zas were ravenously consumed by me, all the members of wimps (one of whom used to be in the Intelligence, and another who is also in Partman Parthorse, on the bill at the Chop), two members of Partman Parthorse (one of whom is in wimps, LIKE I SAID), and Matty from Portland, who was once in a band and may be in a band in the future. We discussed humorous Seattle music goings-on and heard a great and highly-relevant story from Marshall of PMPH, who told us how he once sat on a steaming-hot fresh pizza at Piecora's. He lived!

Walking the few feet back to the Chop, Partman Parthorse was first up. Now, this was my first time seeing PMPH, but I did have a pretty good idea what I would be seeing and hearing so I shined up my camera lens REAL GOOD. I cannot think of any other punk band fronted by a yoga-toned, super-hot, almost naked dude with his cool wife on drums, can you? Gary and Lisa Smith also have a very adorable baby son, but he decided to sleep this one out at home. I loved the set, classic punk, rough and strange, but with a definite sense of humor. And balls, cough. Plenty of balls. A-heh. PHPM RULES.

Click on the photos to enlarge and click HERE to see the full PHPM (with NSFW shots) on Flickr. P.S. That's not real blood, don't freak out, man.

After the stage was ritually cleansed (I assume, anyway) Portland's Daydream Machine took the stage next, with a trip-pop neo-psychedelic set, with definite underpinnings of early '80s British post-punk. They had an awesome old-school light show too! Dig it. (Click HERE for the Flickr.)

When I saw The Intelligence play in Seattle last summer, they were a five-piece unit with three of the night's performers based in Los Angeles, and two in Seattle. Last night, we had a four-piece, all locals (Dave Hernandez, Pete Capponi, and Drew Church) save for Finberg who jettisoned our soggy state for sunny SoCal a few years ago. Despite what one might call The Intelligence's history of fluid band membership (for every possible reason one might imagine), the quality of the music and performances remains stable, and, I would argue, even improves with time. I'll say it a million times: it all comes down to great songs. You gotta have those, and then you gotta play the hell out of them and give LIVE IN CONCERT-GOERS a great night. Finberg has a whole whopping bunch of great songs, and MAN, did we have a good time. We got to hear a couple of brand-spankin'-new ones, lots from the band's last album, "Everybody's Got It Easy But Me," and some goodies from the way-back machine like "Telephone Wires," dedicated to wimps' Dave Ramm, Piecora's pizza-eater and, yes, former member of The Intelligence. Yours truly had her little giddy fan-heart melted by the inclusion of "Weekends In Jail," one of my Finberg faves, and the song I recently covered myself with Miss Ten as Star Horsehead. I had never heard it played live before. Happy x ∞.

My only complaint? The set seemed over WAY too soon! I think we all would've gladly stuck around for another hour, at least. Click HERE for more photos on Flickr!

The Intelligence heads out for a big ol' European tour in May and June, so you lucky folks over there, make sure to go see them, ya hear?

10/05/13 FR TBA
11/05/13 FR LYON Festival Nuits Sonores
12/05/13 TBA
13/05/13 FR TOURS Temps Machine
14/05/13 FR METZ Les Trinitaires
15/05/13 BE BRUSSELS Madame Moustache 
16/05/13 BE LIEGE Le Fiacre
17/05/13 NL GRONINGEN Vera 
18/05/13 NL UTRECHT Guess Who Festival 
19/05/13 TBA
20/05/13 BE ANTWERPEN Trix 
21/05/13 FR ROUEN Le 106 
22/05/13 FR TBA
23/05/13 FR NIMES Paloma
24/05/13 FR LORIENT Le Galion
25/05/13 FR SAINT QUENTIN Le Splendid
26/05/13 FR PARIS Villette Sonique Festival
27/05/13 FR BORDEAUX Festival Relache
28/05/13 OFF
29/05/13 SP MADRID Siroco 
30/05/13 SP VALENCIA Loco Club
31/05/13 SP OVIEDO TBA 
01/06/13 SP SAN SEBASTIAN Bukonski Club
02/06/13 TBA TBA
03/06/13 FR PERPIGNAN Ubu Club
04/06/13 FR MARSEILLE Machine à Coudre
05/06/13 IT TBA
06/06/13 IT ROMA Muzak
07/06/13 IT CAGLIARI Sleep Walker
08/06/13 IT PADOVA Zoom Zoom
09/06/13 IT TBA
10/06/13 UK TBA
11/06/13 UK TBA
12/06/13 UK TBA
13/06/13 TBA
14/06/13 FR BAUMES LES DAMES West Side Festival
15/06/13 FR LIMOGES La Fourmi

Thank you Chop Suey, PMPH, Daydream Machine, wimps, and of course, The Intelligence.

Just checked -- still smiling.