30th November | Trinity
Photos: Luke Macpherson
For over twenty years, !!! (Chk Chk Chk) have been working tirelessly to make sure dance floors keep moving. They’re also one of the most aptly named bands around as well; the percussive stomp of their name – Chk Chk Chk – being the perfect descriptor for their show at Trinity Centre last weekend.
Opening for the band tonight is BABii, whose brand of industrial electronic music is the perfect mood-setter for the night. She spends most of her set crouched on her desk, among a sea of wires and dials, singing softly into her microphone, slowly wooing the crowd of !!! fans.
When the headliner arrives on stage, they do so with a full-on sonic assault. Opener ‘$50 Million’ from their new album Wallop is a disco stomper, complete with an irresistible “nah, nah, nah” singalong chorus. The six-piece band is held together by the tight rhythm section of drummer Paul Quattrone and bassist Tyler Pope, though vocalists Nic Offer and Meah Pace command the stage. The two of them address the lyrics of the song at one another, motioning and gesturing like a couple having a row.
Offer in particular has a wild presence. Tonight he’s wearing a brightly-coloured chequer suit, complete with a matching pair of short shorts. The frontman has a cartoonish amount of energy, bouncing around the stage like a pinball and jumping down into the crowd several times throughout the night. At one point he hides behind one of the huge speakers sat either side of the stage, poking his head out every now and then like a child playing peekaboo.
While remaining focused on their overall goal of keeping the crowd moving, the band explore several different genres throughout the night. ‘Serbia Drums’ has an 80s disco feel to it, built around a glitzy riff from guitarist Mario Andreoni. Then there’s the slow-swaying psychedelia of ‘Slow Motion’ which uses a sliding bassline as its foundation. As the song climaxes, Offer slowly and seductively pulls off his blazer to reveal a t-shirt with the same chequer pattern underneath.
All-out rager ‘Off The Grid’ is a show highlight. Pace takes on lead vocals for the song, giving them a roaring delivery, accompanied by a splay of flashing lights. It’s a song that refuses to let up, raising the intensity a little bit more each time the chorus rolls around.
The band also offer up a number of older songs from their expansive discography, including the euphoric ‘Dancing Is The Best Revenge’ and the sprawling ‘Freedom! ‘15’. The songs roll into each other easily, like neighbours on a party playlist.
Finally, the band close things out with Wallop highlight ‘This Is The Door’. It’s a song that perfectly encapsulates the appeal of !!! as a live band; it’s a big dramatic disco strutter. On the song’s soaring chorus, Offer and Pace throw the song’s lyrics at each other, taking turns to motion each other towards the titular door. Though !!!’s tour behind their new album has been going on for months, there are no signs of weariness in the show they put on; it could almost be the first night.
See the video for ‘Couldn’t Have Known’ here: