A modestly thin crowd at Tipitina’s got down hard last Friday night, but the music they were grooving to was far from the NOLA funk that usually fills those hallowed halls. !!! (pronounced “chk chk chk”) blasted through a tight, hour long set that showcased their distinct dance-punk stylings and delivered songs culled primarily from their recent release, Thri!!!er. Frontman Nic Offer’s nonstop hip thrusting and frequent excursions into the pit for some dance-offs with drunken partiers kept the energy high, and the band behind him was spot on throughout.
Highlights of the show include Offer chanting “Do you believe in love?” at the end of standout track “Even When The Water’s Cold” and the addition of horns to a few (but not enough) of the songs. To solve the age-old problem of how to perform a song without the guest vocalist from the album, !!! took a very 21st century approach and asked a fan in each city to upload a video of herself performing the female vocals for “One Girl / One Boy.” The winner from New Orleans showed off some impressive pipes and exuberant dance moves that easily won the crowd over and would honestly make a great addition to the band. Hopefully the guest singers from other cities are just as good.
When hearing a dance band, the first thing that comes to my mind is nostalgia for LCD Soundsystem (RIP). While !!! certainly have the chops to hang with LCD, their songs don’t hold the emotional weight of James Murphy’s near-classic compositions. The best moments of the set actually occurred during instrumental jams that veered off into unexpected places while keeping the crowd rapt. Personally, I think !!! would benefit from more dance and less punk to keep the bodies moving and establish themself as a distinct entity rather than LCD-Lite.
Regardless, it was clear that the majority of those in attendance were huge fans of the band as they sang along to every song and called out requests. Offer, proving his true charm as a frontman, graciously accommodated a request for the encore and the band ended it all with a window-shattering techno outro. And that’s how you leave ‘em wanting more.