Books away, pencils out. Pop quiz time. First question, Puberty is:
A. The House Band for the new monthly Trainwreck dance-debauchery party at the Orient Express.
B. Side project of Intelligence dynamic duo Lars Finberg and Susanna Welbourne.
C. That awkward stage that all humans go through to reach sexual maturation, and that most would like to forget.
D. All of the above.
The answer of course is D, but for purposes here we’re (mostly) interested in A & B. The Intelligence could never be accused of being a slacker band. Last year they released two albums and they have one ready to unleash on us this year already. Besides being prolific in the albums department, they seem to be perpetually on tour. So where do Mr. Finberg and Ms. Welbourne find the time for this new side project? Obviously some people need much less sleep, and don’t have a weakness for goofing off and wasting time surfing the internet like some of us.
Besides Puberty, Finberg and Welbourne have concocted a vehicle so to speak for their new band, a monthly party called Trainwreck that happens in a set of old railway cars from the 40’s that by day goes by the Orient Express, a restaurant where you can eat in the confines of the glorious past. Setting foot in the place is like stepping back into a different time, they are all connected, but not in line like a train, so wondering around in them is kind of like going through a maze. Finding the men’s room and getting back can be an adventure in and of itself. Just having this place as a divey bar you can go to and tie one on, is a good thing, but when you add a dj, a drag queen and Puberty you get something pretty damn cool.
Hosting the night was Kissee Simmons, the drag queen with a New Yawk accent. S/he introduced the band with her 2 pack a day voice, making up new last names for Lars (I think she called him Lars Fishburn and Lars Fishburg) and offered Chex Mix to everyone. The band, and it was an actual band, consisted of Dave Hernandez formerly of the Shins on guitar Curtis James (Old Haunts) on drums, Drew Church (Cops) on bass and Michael Jaworski (Cops) on keyboards. This left Finberg and Welbourne to ham it up and have a blast. It was pretty obvious that both or them were having a good time, they were decked out in all white and wore shades. They shared vocals on every song while the band, all dressed in matching pink tuxedo jackets, held a solid groove throughout. The sound isn’t much of a departure from the Intelligence aside from the shared vocals, but it was a pleasure to finally hear a full band behind an Intelligence project. I was especially into hearing Churche’s nimble playing, which added the backbone that is often absent in an Intelligence gig.
They did an economical set of eight songs, including a cover of Generation X‘s Kleenex. At one point Lars grabbed a giant strobe light that looked like weighed 50 pounds, and turned it on the packed train car. It felt like we were speeding down a mountain side on a set rickety tracks, perilously close to going off the rails. You definitely don’t want to miss the next Trainwreck. Puberty departs on the Orient Express again on March 4th and April 1st. All aboard!
mp3: Puberty – Parties
mp3: Puberty – Haunt My Trash
The mp3’s are courtesy of Puberty and the Stranger. Also, a more in depth look at Puberty can be had at the Seattle Weekly, and you can see a few more photo’s from the night over at my Flickr.