The Warhol force was strong in Delray Beach this past weekend. Lake Worth's Cop City Chill Pillars, with special guest Lars Finberg of the Intelligence, Wounded Lion, and Thee Oh Sees, waited for the man. Delray psych outfit Black Seal sang of shiny leather boots, and Hollywood surf rockers Beach Day acted as our mirror. Yup. You got it. They were all playing the Velvet Underground.
Cover shows are inherently bizarre. They get you thinking defensively about the original artists, like: Who do think you are? Morrissey? Or, Trent Reznor would never sing it like that. But that same weirdness and familiarity that'll make you squirm can also work in everyone's favor. Like this show did. Palm Beach County did the Velvets proud.
First of all, the setting was intimate. A converted 1920s house, Dada served some of the best salmon I've ever feasted upon, and some razzmatazz-type-named muddled beverage that would have been awesome to chug if it were like five bucks cheaper, and I lived like 50 miles closer.
Secondly, each band played a modest set, and, they sounded like their own versions of Lou Reed or Nico. Black Seal kicked off the night with a haunting "Sunday Morning" and Cop City closed it out with an poppy but intense version of "White Light/White Heat," complete with hectic finally.
L.A. based musician Lars Finberg was the headliner of sorts. He fronted Cop City Chill Pillars for the evening, and learned something like 9 of their original songs to play the next night at Gramps bar in Miami. It was Gramps' owner Adam Gersten that brought Finberg to town via friend Marianne Spellman, and Kismet Vintage's Aly Gore who facilitated the night at Dada.
"It's totally bizarre," Finberg said of everything coming together. But playing with the Lake Worth band was a draw for him. "I could have come out and done it just by myself, but that would have been a disaster. One of us was like, if Cop City's playing anyway, what if they were the backup band."
He's a big fan of the group having first heard them album when Rich Evans of Florida's Dying mailed him an album. "I'm not into a lot of stuff," he admitted. "I was like, 'eh, whatever,' and it sat around for a couple of weeks, and then I was like, 'I've got to listen to this out of obligation.' Then I put it on and was like, this is totally great! Why am I so jaded?"
He chose the Velvet Underground songs they'd be playing at Dada. And though he'd met CJ once in Orlando, he only was introduced to the rest of the band at their first practice. They'd rehearsed the songs already. "We're similar dudes," Finberg observed.
In an interview with his friend Marianne Spellman for her blog Popthamology, the musician expressed a love for eating lentils. Though this isn't a food blog, I couldn't resist piggybacking on a lentil-related question. "I love lentils. If I could only eat lentils, I would totally do that." Finberg explained: "The health benefits are number one. But that they're actually delicious. When we go on tour, I'm down to try any lentil thing. I don't know why! They're like beans, but even more magical." He admits to being a picky eater.
In that same interview, Finberg noted that he'd be possibly be spinning some R&B or hip-hop at Gramps, so I inquired how finicky he is about his musical tastes. He's a fan of Sharon Jones and Raphael Saadiq, who he says is "super handsome and wears a suit and is totally great." A fan of rap, he was happy when the guys from CCCP put on Pusha T during practice. Adding, "I think Danny Brown is amazing. His music's great, he's got this persona that's like totally awesome. That's what you want in a hip-hop star. I want to watch interviews of you on YouTube, I want to know about your life."
Friend Rob Budowsky then brought over piles of shots for everyone in sight as Black Seal played for fun inside. That's what kind of night it was. Relaxed shots for everyone, talk of magical lentils, a genuinely fantastic meal, vintage sweaters for sale outside, hanging in the crisp night air. Besides a full belly and a light buzz, it gave me a deepened respect for everyone involved.