The band !!! (a.k.a. "Chk Chk Chk") has plenty of justifiable reasons for being excited about a West Coast tour in the middle of winter. First, unlike their current home base in Brooklyn, we barely even get winter here. Second, their quick stint of club dates up and down the coast is affording the Sacramento-bred band time to test out new material for an album they’ll be recording in March.
Since forming in 1996, the band's crowd-pleasing brand of dance-punk has landed them on just about every major festival stage from Coachella and Bonaroo to Spain’s Primavera Sound. But in the spirit of testing a new crop of unreleased songs, the band has decided to give fans an intimate round of shows for their quick-hitting “Caliiifornia” tour. And despite the perceived difficulty of fitting a spastically energetic six-piece band on a small club stage, front man Nic Offer says !!! is definitely an act that can rock on all terrain.
“People always ask us how we’re able to fit our show on small stages," Offer said. "But through the ups and downs of our careers, and being all the way at the bottom, we’ve been able to play anywhere.”
More important, this four-date outing between Santa Barbara and San Diego from Feb. 28 to March 2 offers their raw, sweat-drenched club music a chance to thrive in its natural habitat. Before Thursday's show at the Echoplex, Offer spoke with Pop & Hiss about their forthcoming record steeped in a mixture of unapologetic electro, rough-and-tumble rock guitars and a newfound work ethic inspired by Prince.
Pop & Hiss: Having played so many huge festival stages in the last few years, what does it feel like to be playing your music in a club where it really seems to be most at home, stylistically?
Nic Offer: We kind of like it all. It’s exciting playing the bigger stages, but when you’re at a club and the people are just right there in your face, the energy is just more compacted. Taking the energy of a huge stage and putting it in a small room makes it all the more explosive. Everyone that was at the show last night who came up to us was like, “Oh, I saw you at Coachella and this was so much better.” I think people are just blown away by something that intimate. It’s more exciting.