The first thing to which you’re immediately drawn is the frontman stylings of Nic Offer. The band began the show with the title track off the recent release, and Offer kicked into high gear right away. Seemingly proud of his hipster doofus persona (with good reason, I’m not sure I’ve ever seen that level self-confidence on stage), Offer exudes an interesting blend of Ryan the Beck Vibe Dancer, Napolean Dynamite and Jim Morrison. He’s a ham in every sense of the word, but contrary to the way I feel about most self-aggrandizing frontmen, he doesn’t detract from the band’s music at all. It’s quite the entertaining sight.
At times you have to ignore him and remind yourself there’s a band kicking some major ass behind him. This so-called dance-punk genre is blowin’ up right now, but that’s a pretty shitty description of what these guys do (even I fell for it above the jump). I’d love to say it’s all energy, all the time, but I left the show more impressed by each member’s musical ability than I ever thought I would. The rhythm section specifically blew me away – the porn-stached drummer and bassist that looked exactly like Desmond from Lost not only held down the beat all night, it seemed like they drove the whole operation.
More hardcore fans of the band may have their own favorites, but the Must be the Moon and Hello? Is This Thing On? combo in the middle of the set blew me away musically. The end of the show surely brought more energy and crowd response, but those two songs gave me a good sense of what they’re trying to accomplish with this conglomerate band. We posted a band-produced video for Must Be the Moon recently, and if you didn’t see it then, check it out now for a better idea of what the hell I’m trying to say.
The tall drink of water with the Brett Favre playoff beard known as John Pugh (above) also fronts the band when he’s not playing around on the second set of drums and percussion toys. Between John and Nic and the African American brick shithouse lady (below) that joined the band for a few tunes, there was no shortage of great vocals, tight harmonies and crowd-boosting to complement the thumpin’ sound. I was told before the show that it’s probably a wise decision to ignore the vocals and dig into the dance, but I thought the three-headed mike stylings brought a second level of energy to the show.
The show really took off with three songs to go, when the lady above stood at the front of the stage and started to make those eyes that said, “I’m about to do the standing broad jump, people.” Danfun, Neddy and I were right up front the whole show (ridin’ the rail, brahh), which made for great sight and sound all night, but it also put us in a precarious position for what was about to go down.
The lady sprung into the air, stage-diving right on top of the guy in front of Neddy, taking him out in the process. And when I say taking him out, I mean one of those full off-the-top-rope flying body presses that your old high-flying WWF favorites used to employ on a regular basis. Neddy bore the small brunt of deflection, as well. Both the crowd member and the lady surprisingly shot up, and a mosh pit ensued. Pure fucking energy.
After that awesome incident right before my eyes, the remainder of the show brought a level of excitement and reciprocal intensity unseen before it. It’s times like these I wish indie-ish bands played longer sets, because we only had two more songs to feel the incredible wrath of !!!’s potency. The show ended on the highest of high notes, a raging run through Intensify, and all nine people on stage got their last ya-yas out before calling it a night. And when Offer signaled to the back that they were done, I knew the house lights would come on without an encore, and I begrudgingly filed out with the herd.
But I left the Bowery wholly impressed by the evening’s performance, and I’m more than tempted to catch them after at the end of this month at recently opened Studio B in Brooklyn. And if you’re in the area and never seen these guys before, I’d suggest doing some serious calisthenics, buying a couple of sweat bands and heading on down to the show. You’ll lose five pounds in sweat.
The above picture is of Holy Fuck, a four-piece unit that’s utterly indescribable. If anyone wants to start a band with a rhythm section and lots of weird noise, I’m sorry to report, that position has already been filled. Can’t say I’m a huge fan, but they’re clearly good at what they’re trying to accomplish up there. And shit, they’ve really got a great name.
5/16/07 !!! Setlist: Myth Takes, All My Heroes Are Weirdos, Pardon My Freedom, Dear Can, A New Name, Must Be The Moon, Hello? Is This Thing On?, Yadnus, Coke Annon, Heart Of Hearts, Intensify