The easiest way to read the crowd at Echoplex in Los Angeles is to take note of the attendees in the back. How dense is the crowd by the back bar? Are they jostling for better position, packed shoulder to shoulder? Or are they chatting away, sipping on craft beer, completely unaware of the music playing a few hundred feet from their respective conversations? Echoplex, next-door to The Echo, is a pretty simple venue. It features a main stage and two bars, one at the opposite side of the stage (maybe 100 meters away) and one about 20 meters away to stage right. If a band can fill the area towards the back bar, and get those people dancing, bopping and waving their hands, they’re something special.
Lucky for those in attendance, !!! (chk chk chk) are that sort of band, and then some. Following an odd but fitting opening set from undead ’80s prom band Honus Honus — complete with skeleton t-shirts, marching band jackets with bedazzled skeletons on the back, heavy eyeliner, a double neck guitar and some mean sax solos — Nic Offer and band took the stage. While Honus Honus’ theatrics were commendable, as they really committed to that skeletal aesthetic, ultimately the crowd, which comprised of mid-to-late thirties LA residents, seemed uninterested. Sure, the sax solos and dueling guitar face-offs got the crowd going, but, mostly, fans seemed eager for the headliner.
It turns out the eagerness was well warranted as the crowd went bananas the second !!! started into “NRGQ.” Those in attendance seemed like a mix of diehard fans and the friends they dragged along to the set. Imagine parallel conversations to the tune of, “Trust me, dude, even if you don’t know their music, you’ll have an incredible time.” Before the end of “NGRQ,” Offer had removed his suit jacket and was flailing around like a mad man to the pulsing beat of his drummer behind him. !!! was in full effect and there was nowhere to escape, not that anyone would even try.
Aside from addressing the crowd here and there with smart remarks, Offer and the gang stuck mainly to playing music and keeping the party going. Though each member held their own on respective instruments, it was Offer and backup vocalist Meah Pace that made the night. As they progressed through their catalog, playing songs off of their latest album, Shake the Shudder, as well as some of their older hits, more and more of Offer’s clothing came off until he was in nothing but boxers, Nikes and a short-sleeved button-down. Regardless of the song choice, the crowd was elated. For all they knew, !!! could have played brand new material, or made it up on the spot. It didn’t matter; people were having too much fun to notice.
In fact, fans enjoyed the show so much that they brought !!! back for two encores. With a mist of perspiration hanging above the crowd, thanks to dancing that would have worn out even the most veteran of EDM diehards, an encore seemed inevitable. After Offer and crew had tried to satiate the attendees with the boogie-inducing track “Slyd,” however, their eager fans were not ready to call it quits. Without a moment’s hesitation, chants of “one more! one more” began pouring out of the crowd in unison. Who wants to go to bed at 12:15am on a Thursday anyway? !!! obliged and finished things off with “Heart of Hearts.” The dancing picked up right where it left off and, even then, it wasn’t hard to imagine them coming out for a third encore.
Unfortunately, though, that was the end. The crowd pushed through the double doors of Echoplex to gulp down some much needed fresh air and head home. One fan summed it up best as he and a buddy walked out to grab some street dogs, “Dammit. That was good.”
All U writers
Pardon My Freedom
One Girl One Boy
The One 2
Heart of Hearts
Photo Credit: Demian Becerra