Dance-punk band !!! (pronounced “chk chk chk”) performed at Slo Brew Rock on Dec. 14, with support from LA-based funk musician Tolliver. Both artists unapologetically put their eccentric personalities on display, dancing with fervor to every song. Their excitement for the music was infectious, encouraging audience members to bust out their best disco dance moves. If your dancing shoes weren’t on, you were underdressed!
Cloaked in a fuzzy robe and purple go-go boots, opener Tolliver performed songs from his new album, “Daddyland,” backed by a live bassist and drummer. Tolliver interspersed each song with a hilarious quip — he asked of the venue “which came first: the ‘Rock,’ or the ‘SLO Brew?’”
The performer also taught concertgoers an original dance to his song “Call Me a Freak” and turned the microphone over to the crowd to repeat the lyrics. In terms of danceability and stage presence, Tolliver matched the energy and raw personality of !!!, drumming up the audience’s excitement for the rest of the show.
The entrance of !!! reflected the slow build of house music — one by one, each member walked onto the stage, adding components of the song until the six-piece band united and the music reached a crescendo in a dramatic opening. As soon as the lights came on during the beat drop of their first song, “This Is Pop 2,” the band’s vivacious frontman Nic Offer was visible shaking his butt in his signature, teeny-tiny “pool boy shorts.”
!!! displayed a surprising youthfulness for a band that has been making music for over 20 years, and their musical evolution is still ongoing. The band released an album this year, “Let It Be Blue,” which draws on their dance-punk roots while adding elements of the house music genre.
Not tied to any one configuration, the band has changed forms throughout the years. Notably, vocalist Meah Pace joined the band in 2017 with the release of their album “Shake the Shudder.”
The array of instruments dispersed along the stage further indicated the band’s versatility. Outfitted with guitars, drums, a percussion pad, a synthesizer and two vocalists, !!! created a distinctive sound characterized by echoey vocals, danceable basslines and a fuzzy guitar tone. While the vocalists switched between singing and playing the tambourine or percussion pad, the guitarists occasionally set down their instruments to tap away at the keyboard. During “Un Puente,” a Spanish-language song from their new album, the bassist took on the role as lead vocalist.
One quality that stood out about !!!’s performance was a clear appreciation for their fans. Frontman Nic Offer found a way to personally interact with everyone in the audience despite the large size of the venue. Several times during the show, he dropped down into the crowd, belting his lyrics in the face of audience members. He even got in a dance battle with several concertgoers and gyrated against a structural support beam. After playing some fan-favorite songs from their older albums, like “Slyd” and “Even When the Water’s Cold,” the musicians stuck around to chat with fans and take pictures.