Funk-rock band !!! (pronounced ‘chk chk chk’) took to Lee’s Palace last night, where they packed the venue and made every audience member sweat more than they will all week at work. Sunday nights are tricky for concerts, especially ones that you know will make you tired for days, but it was all worth it.
!!!’s shows are pretty memorable, with lead singer Nic Offer dancing around on the stage and in the audience without stopping, while his trusty band creates a hearty backbone behind him. Offer gets in people’s faces as he sings, screams, dances and propels sweat everywhere. In short, the band puts on a show that should never be missed.
Here to promote their new album, Strange Weather, Isn’t It?, the seven-piece blasted through the danceable new hits, opening with “AM/FM,” moving through “Wannagain Wannagain,” “Jump Back,” “Jamie, My Intentions are Bass” and “Steady as the Sidewalk Cracks.” They also included old favourites “Yadnus,” “Must be the Moon,” “Heart of Hearts” and more. They encored with “Intensify.”
There were no faltering moments during the set, providing over an hour of glorious workout. The sound was off-key at points, but the band interpreted songs into new dimensions instead. This was their first time in Toronto since a significant line-up change, so it still feels new. But a !!! show can’t fail until the energy dies and that doesn’t seem like it will happen for a while. One great addition is that they bring along singer Shannon Funchess, whose voice you hear on songs such as “Heart of Hearts.” She only sings on a few songs, but they bring her along on tour anyway, something not a lot of bands opt for.
It would be nice to see the other band members dance a bit more, as they seem to rely on the fact that everyone’s eyes don’t leave Offer, but it’s undeniable. It’s like Offer connects to every single person and he’s provocative. He sweats through his clothing, creates dance circles and gyrates. And at the end, he took off his shirt and wrung it out of sweat over his head. You can’t just avert your gaze from that. But the rest of the band is at the heart of !!!’s groove of guitars, bass, synths, drums, a saxophone and a trumpet, thus the way they’ve found their team work can’t be broken.
Offer proclaimed to the crowd during the set that he was discussing how it would go with the band beforehand. He said he knew Toronto would rock “like always.” But not just any band can take over a venue on a Sunday in a city that has a reputation for people who don’t dance at concerts and flip it upside down.
Photo by Jeff Jewiss, AUX TV