I think it took me a whole week to fully regain consciousness and physical awareness of myself after seeing !!! (chkchkchk) last Friday night at Webster Hall. This was the first time seeing the 8-piece ensemble, and at the show I felt both violated and honored at the same time. It should’ve come as no surprise to me that Nik Offer, frontman and lead singer, was performing for the whole hour and a half in boxers. Indeed, their prank pulling reputation (they’ve been around since the 90s after all) truly does precede them.
!!! consists the same amount of people as your high school’s marching band, it seems. We got Nic Offer as the lead scoundrel, Justin van der Volgen playing the bass, Tyler Pope and Mario Andreoni on guitar, Dan Gorman on trumpet/percussion, Allan Wilson with the saxophone/percussion, Mikel Gius on drums, and finally, Jason Racine on percussion. I can’t stress enough how well !!! pulls off being a “fun” band and at the same time makes instrumentally complex music. I don’t think I’ve danced to a song in which the trumpet and sax take main stage since the famous scene in The Mask when Jim Carrey’s green-faced double whisks away a young Cameron Diaz at the Coco Bongo Club.
The show at Webster Hall was not one of those nights where it was party in the front, bobbed heads in the back; the whole floor was one colossal dance party, rocking out to old songs as well as new tracks off of Thr!!!er. I’m pretty sure most of us in the crowd slung back a couple drinks right when we arrived, not to necessarily get obliterated, but to give ourselves the chance to dance wildly and spill-free. !!! always delivers a positively savage performance, making it hard for anyone to stand motionless. The band basically brings the dance party to you, personally (Nic Offer even jumped off-stage and jived around in the audience at one point).
From what I learned at Webster Hall, a !!! show can never be too long; I found myself having withdrawel the minute they exited the stage, despite their amazing encore for which they play their Christmas time newbie, “And Anyway It’s Christmas,” which is currently available in limited edition on 7″ vinyl.
Though all things must come to an end, Nic promised us that he was going to see us in 2014, so I can’t be too dejected. I hope you can wait. In the meantime, boogie-down to the holiday jam, here, via Soundcloud: