Before I start, I have to confess to being a bit of a fan of !!! (Chk Chk Chk). They are one of those bands that gets everyone in the room moving. I last moved to their groove in London’s trendy Hoxton – in a converted Victorian warehouse full of beards, checkered shirts, and jeans that were turned up to display a lack of socks.
So it came as no surprise that tonight’s equally trendy Bethnal Green venue was formerly the site of a disused gasworks. They like their earthy stages these guys.
Last time Chk Chk Chk played in London, they supported themselves by playing a downbeat set of Stereolab covers, under the banner of Stereolad. The audience that night were somewhat confused. However, this time, support came from Laetitia Sadier.
Laetitia is a real person, best known for being the lead singer of….Stereolab! Tonight, she sang songs on subjects such as women in voluntary servitude – playing a right-handed strung guitar upside-down, a la Hendrix, and looping vocals to create a personal choir. When she came onto the stage with a cup of tea and a cardigan, looking like my auntie, I wasn’t expecting her to provide us with a set of soaring melodies, crafted using minor chords and a dose of relative anguish.
Pick of the bunch, “Reflectors”, which was “about the power we have as humans to delude ourselves”. Well, I guess the human condition is what French songstresses are good at. Naturellement!
!!! (Chk Chk Chk)
!!! are total crowd pleasers, and they didn’t fail to excite the hipsters of East London.
The core group consists of drums, guitar, bass and keyboards (with various members doubling up to play percussion and additional basses). Then there is the main man, Nic Offer, in his trademark short shorts and shock of curly hair.
Nic busts some crazy moves as he delivers pulsating song after pulsating song. His recognizably stiff armed dancing and hands behind head pose were evident from the start. Nic leapt into the crowd a couple of times and spent most of the set perched on the edge of the stage or leaning over the crash barriers. He even took time to dance in front of my camera for a few close ups.
He caught his breath half way through the set to tell us all that the band likes to give every gig the same energy regardless of the size of the venue…..and that he had bought some new shoes for the occasion, which were a bit tight.
On this night, Nic was ably supported by an equally energetic band and backing vocalist, as they plundered tracks from across their seven albums. Highlights were “Must be the Moon” with its urgent bass line and cow bells and, of course, “Slyd” – “I don’t really like you but I like you on the inside.” Enough said.
I challenge anyone not to want to move to !!! Simple toe-tapping is not enough, as was evident by the way that the crowd collectively shook and shuddered throughout the compulsive set. !!! makes a room of even the hardest hipsters smile and it’s a gig that they won’t forget in a hurry. Keep coming back to see us in London guys – I’ve already booked my place in the pit for the next one.
- ‘Must be the Moon’
- ‘The One 2’
- ‘One Boy’
- ‘Heart of Hearts’
More photos from this gig at http://www.jampondphotography.com/gigs
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