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!!! (Chk, Chk, Chk) – Yes, This Thing is So On

When !!! (Chk, Chk, Chk) first started out in Sacramento in 1996 (now the band is split between Sac and Brooklyn), the notion of electro, dance punk or indie dance was something of an unknown, unless you were at a dance club’s ‘80s night. Ten years later, you can’t spin a cat round the outside without hitting a band or 100 with the dance genres listed aptly on their MySpace page.

The difference between !!! and some of the others, either coming up or on their way out is a) The group is still highly relevant because b) Mario Andreoni (guitar, percussion), Nic Offer (vocals, crowd conductor), Allan Wilson (sax, keys, synth, percussion), Dan Gorman (synth, trumpet), Paul Quattrone are still making great fucking music that you can appreciate, whether you have a sense of rhythm or not.

In August of this year !!! released its fourth album, Strange Weather, Isn’t It?, which presents the band’s penchant for camp, wit and deep, luscious grooves; the kind that would get Donna Summer back out on the dancefloor. Take “Even Judas Gave Jesus a Kiss,” for example. Those Soul Train guitar and shake-to-the-roof bass jams are complemented by echoing, ska-esque, “Ghost Town” backing vocals.

The sneak and snake moves of “Hollow” have reinvented the musical cloak designed by the likes of Meat Beat Manifesto and MC900FT Jesus. A track that’s gotten !!! some good airplay is “The Most Certain Sure,” which pours over with delectable hooks and bow-bow bass licks, all nestled within the lines, “Everybody knows that everybody’s been burned / But everybody’s surprised whenever it comes time for their turn.” Ain’t that the truth?

Suffice it to say that that the !!! boys are pros at composing those infectious groove thangs, but the lyrics run just as deep. “AM/FM” makes good use of some insightful metaphors, “Now there’s nothing in the rear view mirror / Except a trunk full of regrets / Driving back / You can roll up the window / But you can’t drown out the wind.”

Sit on that for a bit while you’re chewing on earlier !!! tracks, like “Me and Giuliani Down By The School Yard (True Story),” “Pardon My Freedom” or “Hello? Is This Thing On?”

People always ask me, “What’s so fucking great about dancing?”
How the fuck should I know? Yeah, even I can barely understand it
But when the music takes over, the music takes control

Here’s a message to you, Rudy and you, sir, Mr. Bloomberg
And the rest of you ties-too-tight dudes
Y’all could learn a lesson, by losing inhibitions, yeah
Losing yourself in the music, losing yourself in the moment
Because we have nothing more than this very second
You can’t count on the one coming after, no one’s sure about the one before

So forget about it, we live here and now, dude, here and now, here and now, here and now
So get on down

You have numerous opportunities to get down to !!! (Chk, Chk, Chk) given the band has a plate full of gigs scheduled across the country:

September 9 – Bluebird, Denver – performs with Denver’s Chain Gang of 1974, who goes on at 8pm
September 9 – Larimer Lounge, Denver (DJ gig starting at 11-ish)
September 10 – Fox Theater, Boulder

September 11 – Club Sound, Salt Lake City
September 13 – Harlow’s, Sacramento
September 22 – Black Cat, Washington
September 23 – Royale Boston, Boston
September 24 – Pearl Street, Northampton
September 25 – Nor Easter, Lincoln
September 26 – Lee’s Palace, Toronto
September 28 – Blind Pig, Ann Arbor
September 29 – The Bottom Lounge, Chicago
September 30 – Headliner’s Music Hall, Louisville
October 1 – Beachland Ballroom, Cleveland
October 2 – Electric Factory, Philadelphia
October 3 – Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh
October 5 – Met Cafe (Hope Artiste Village), Pawtucket
October 6 – Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn
October 7 – Music Hall of Williamsburg, Brooklyn


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