Upon listening to !!!’s (Chk Chk Chk’s) albums, a desire to see the songs performed live quickly spurs. The driving, fuzzy house and disco beats simply cannot be contained within headphones or speakers. The music is best appreciated when delivered directly from the artists while dancing along with a couple hundred strangers. !!! has been cooly cruising the indie waters for upwards of two decades now. The band has released eight full-length EPs (most recently Wallop, out now via Warp), but it’s stage presence that has kept them afloat. And though frontman Nic Offer puts on a hell of a show, co-singer Meah Pace shines at the helm.
Offer opened the show at Teragram Ballroom on September 25th with “Let It Change U,” Wallop’s heavy thumping first track. He came out blazing. And though the crowd was sparse throughout the opening set from L.A. locals Warm Drag (whose performance felt, in essence, like dancing along to a loud, gorgeous nightmare), the room quickly filled up as !!! took the stage. Offer’s infectious energy incited an immediate dance party. He was irresistible in his signature short shorts (plaid, with an identically-patterned blazer and T-shirt to boot) while bopping around furiously to the funky house beat. His dance moves can best be described as uninhibited. “You are at a Chk Chk Chk show!” he declared as he strutted the length of the stage, a magnet drawing in each member of the audience like specks of metal.
A strong start indeed, but as Pace joined Offer on stage for the second song, “Our Love (U Can Get),” the electricity instantly intensified. Her soulful voice pierced the room as she cut a rug on stage rocking a long-sleeved silver sequined mini-dress. The party had begun in earnest.
“I love who I become when I’m on stage. I feel fearless, confident and strong,” Pace said in a follow-up interview with LA Canvas. Judging by the kinesis of the Teragram during the show, the audience loved her too. Offer and Pace were totally in sync the entire set, utilizing every inch of the stage as their chemistry permeated the room. Every member of the audience danced along — there seemed to be no other option. There was a notable lack of phones in the air, too (save for when Offer twice made his way into the crowd). All were present.
As the show went on, the crowd grew more enamored. Offer’s charming antics and effervescence were a perfect complement to Pace’s pristine rhythm and unfiltered soul. There was never a quiet moment — the time between songs was merely an extension of the groove, accompanied by near-constant dancing from both singers. Pace used to be head cheerleader for the Baltimore Ravens, and she has mastered the art of hype.
“I like to make people feel uplifted using words, music, and dancing,” Pace said. Mission accomplished.
Around the fourth or fifth song, once it was almost certain that Pace would be on stage for the whole set, I couldn’t help but think about how delighted I was for her to be there. Though not an official member of the band, Pace contributed to multiple tracks on Wallop and !!!’s previous effort, Shake the Shudder, and she’s joined the band on past tours.
Her presence is woefully overlooked and under-reported in the band’s media coverage, though. Since she’s only officially credited on two Wallop tracks, I didn’t expect her to remain on stage the whole night, so it was a glorious surprise to experience her unique magic for nearly the entire set. (She closed out the show with a heart pounding rendition of “This Is The Door” but didn’t return for the encore performance of “Slyd.”)
Nic Offer is a unique, talented, and delightful frontman who could’ve easily carried the show on his own. The rest of the band is undeniably talented as well, though save for a couple of delightful moments featuring keyboardist Allan Wilson dancing across the stage with a tambourine, they were very much the backing band. Though she may not get the coverage that her talent and energy warrant, Pace’s contributions make !!! a band to add to your “must see” list.
If you missed !!! at Teragram, there are still plenty of times and places in which to experience what I’ve attempted to articulate above. You can find a full discography, including Wallop, on Spotify. Meah Pace says she is currently working on solo material that she hopes to be released very soon. In the meantime, you can find her first EP, 11:03, on Spotify or follow her work with New York’s Resistance Revival Chorus.
- Let It Change U
- Our Love (U Can Get)
- $50 Million
- Off The Grid
- All U Writers
- Couldn’t Have Known
- Dancing Is The Best Revenge
- My Fault
- Freedom! ‘15
- This Is The Door
- *Encore* Slyd
!!! Tour Dates:
01 – Vancouver, BC @ Fortune Sound Club (Tickets)
02 – Seattle, WA @ Crocodile (Tickets)
06 – Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall (Tickets)
07 – Detroit, MI @ El Club (Tickets)
08 – Toronto, ON @ Horseshoe (Tickets)
10 – Boston, MA @ Brighton Music Hall (Tickets)
11 – Kingston, NY @ O+ Festival^
12 – Brooklyn, NY @ Music Hall Of Williamsburg (Tickets)
13 – Asbury Park, NJ @ Asbury Lanes (Tickets)
16 – Richmond, VA @ The Broadberry (Tickets)
17 – Washington, DC @ U Street Music Hall (Tickets)
18 – Philadelphia, PA @ Underground Arts (Tickets)
19 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Thunderbird (Tickets)
30 – Kyoto, JP @ Metro^
31 – Osaka, JP @ Anima^
01 – Tokyo, JP @ O-East^
20 – Cardiff, UK @ Clwb Ifor Bach (Tickets)
21 – Dublin, IE @ Whelan’s (Tickets)
22 – Galway, IE @ Roisin Dubh (Tickets)
25 – Huddersfield, UK @ The Parish (Tickets)
26 – Manchester, UK @ Gorilla (Tickets)
27 – Leeds, UK @ The Wardrobe (Tickets)
28 – York, UK @ The Crescent (Tickets)
29 – London, UK @ EartH (Tickets)
30 – Bristol, UK @ Trinity (Tickets)
01 – Brighton, UK @ Concorde 2 (Tickets)
02 – Lille, FR @ L’Aeronef (Tickets)
03 – Paris, FR @ La Maroquinerie (Tickets)
04 – Antwerp, BE @ Zappa (Tickets)
05 – Amsterdam, NL @ Bitterzoet (Tickets)
06 – Berlin, DE @ Lido (Tickets)
07 – Frankfurt, DE @ Zoom (Tickets)
10 – Vigo, ES @ Master (Tickets)
11 – Madrid, ES @ Shoko (Tickets)
12 – Barcelona, ES @ Apollo (Tickets)
13 – Valencia, ES @ Sala Moon (Tickets)
14 – Murcia, ES @ REM (Tickets)