Early fall is a great time of year for concerts in the Seattle area: a cooling of summer temps means clubs are no longer loud saunas, and it's not yet raining so much that people want to hibernate at home instead of going out. With that in mind, we see a rush of shows coming though, and last Saturday night had a TON of entertainment options. What did I choose? WELL DUH, of COURSE I would be at any show by Seattle/L.A.-based band The Intelligence (even in a sauna or in the pouring rain, although I would actively complain about that at the same time), and with two very solid opening acts on the bill, my evening was set.

(poster by CMRTYZ)

I like the LoFi Performance Gallery, located parallel to my nemesis I-5 on a semi-desolate-looking Eastlake Ave. E., clustered by the Black Lodge and Victory Lounge venues. It's a bit of a labyrinth with a small bar in the front of the house, a DJ room, a few little spots for sitting and talking, and down a long hallway, a stage and a back bar, complete with disco ball. It's a fun place to hang out and you are right up front and personal with the performers onstage, which is nifty. The first band of the evening was Seattle's Bali Girls. If you were expecting a female Indonesian pop group, you would be wrong. Formed in 1994, this male American trio delivers a heavy, trippy vibe a bit reminiscent of Black Rebel Motorcycle Club with a darker, harder edge. They held the crowd enthralled with long, complex jams that shook the rafters and rumbled the ground. Bali Girls have just released "Dead Reckoning West," a crunchy bite of hard-as-nails rock, mastered by Kurt Bloch.

(As always, click on the photos to enlarge, and click on the Flickr set links for more!)

Bali Girls, Lofi Performance Gallery, Seattle 9/27/14 Flickr set

The buzz has been building for locals The Gods Themselves since I saw their debut performance at the Rendezvous last July. Astra, Collin, and Frankie, all with substantial performance experience and musical chops, seem to have come together in divine providence -- is there another way to explain how this trio have coalesced so perfectly so quickly? Their confidence in their mission is evident and well-deserved. Released less than a week ago, their self-titled debut album is sexy, singable, and wah-wah-wonderful, genre-busting '90s alt, sinuous psych-out, and post-punk jitter-crank into something new. The floor was so packed for their set that I had to apologize every two seconds just to snake my way through. That's a real good sign. Check out The Gods Themselves and pick up the entire album right HERE.

The Gods Themselves, LoFi Performance Gallery, Seattle 9/27/14 Flickr set

What were you doing in 2004? I moved from Denver to the Seattle area, and had a state-of-the-art 3.1MP digital camera. I don't know what Lars Finberg's pixel status was, but I do know that he was already in Seattle and recorded and released The Intelligence's first album, the noisy, strange, intriguing, funny/sad, and downright intelligent "Boredom and Terror." How can you not absolutely love a debut album whose opening lines are "I'm not starving/I'm not in the army/I'm not on fire/Let's sing about girls," sung in the most disaffected, deadpan way?  Finberg, striking out on his own after playing in the A-Frames, went full-on solo and composed, sang, and played all the instruments on "Boredom and Terror," and the ashy post-punk/grunge Seattle landscape of 2004 was in great need of what Finberg was uniquely able to do. The album, one could say, has the overall timbre of burnt aluminum being scrubbed by a Scotch-Brite™ pad, in a genuinely charming, homemade, lowest-fi way. But "Boredom and Terror" balances its starkness and noise with terrifically-catchy 4-count single-line riffs, chilly robotic repetition with unexpected instrumental frills, blown-out yet accessible. The secret super-strength in Finberg's work here (and in all his songs to come) is that same balance he finds in his lyrics, juxtaposing anger and humor, silliness and sadness, aggression and apathy, which makes for something rather unexpectedly accurate speaking to the human experience. I think that's kind of a great big deal. 

What are you doing in 2014? Well, on this very same Saturday night, I celebrated the 10th anniversary re-release for The Intelligence's "Boredom and Terror," now available as a gorgeous remastered gatefold double-LP on title-themed grey-and-black splatter vinyl (or just black for you nihilists) on In The Red Records. We were treated to several songs from "Boredom and Terror" and a bunch more from The Intelligence's back and future catalogue. There may have been drinks spilled. There may have been a guitar tuning session. There may have been a fairly decrepit green floral merch suitcase onstage. There may have been happy dancing fans, sweating and smiling. There may well have been all these things and more, and a fine fall Saturday night in Seattle it was indeed.