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! ! ! ???

August 23, 2013

I think the best kinds of musical experiences are the ones you have to let marinate. Plug it in; turn it up; let it fill you up; lather, rinse, repeat.

I’ll admit it: I had never heard of !!! until recently, so if you’re confused as to what I even mean by !!!, you are not alone. Inspired by the Bush language in the movie, “The Gods Must Be Crazy,” the confusing-at-first-glance name is actually pronounced Chk Chk Chk, intended to display their go-getting musical attitude. Classified in the dance-punk genre, this seven piece band from Sacramento will be making their return to Reno on Aug. 28 at The Knitting Factory after their debut in Reno in closing The Underground to a near sold-out show in July of 2012.

In preparation for the show, I’ve been listening to a lot of !!!. What at first started out as confusion and difficulty (their Soundcloud link reroutes to an empty slate) soon evolved into a curiosity more than anything.

The genre itself, dance-punk, is almost exactly what it sounds like: high-energy melodies paired with fun lyrics and kickin’ bass lines. The conglomerate of a super-group just released their fifth album titled Thr!!!er, and, true to the dance part of their genre, it makes you want to get up and groove.

“I guess we felt that attitude was important to our creative freedom,” said !!! of their style. “We just took the idea of doing whatever we wanted a bit farther than other punks. I have no idea why dance has spoken so much to us. It’s always the most creatively exciting music to me. We didn’t choose to be dance/punk, it’s just who we are.”

However, after five albums and over 15 years of music making (a long time — they’re definitely excited to have seen music change and progress over their career), a few hours spent comparing and contrasting between new and old will easily highlight the new wave that !!! seems to be riding. They were recently quoted on Showbams.com about one of their new singles from the record “Slyd,” as it being “a jam they’ve never had before.”

No exaggeration, I have listened to this song now about 20 times. Partly because I wanted to get a feel for it, and mostly because – man, did it make me want to dance. In the past, they have stayed true to the verse-chorus-verse outline of music, which is successful, tried and true. But when you fall into a category called “dance-punk,” it’s probably safe to assume that you’re willing to take a few risks.

“With that song, we had a good bass line and we just thought, ‘Why don’t we make a song that sounds like it’s sampled from many different songs,’ but all the different songs were just things that we made up,” said the band on the track. “One thing just lead to another while making it, and a different bass line would have set us on a different path. It was a really fun song to make.”

By even combining deep bass beats and dance rhythms to begin with, they’re pushing the envelope. There is not a single band on the market that I can think of as a fair, or decent, comparison. On one hand, punk music exists on a level shorter songs and up-tempo beats – a product of the mid-70s angst in the United Kingdom. On the other, dance music has been infiltrating the masses for years, only to make its way to the front of the race in the recent millennia as the all-inclusive, ever evolving mass for artists to experiment with what it really means to create music.

Well, !!! has managed to combine the two. And quite successfully. They simultaneously make you want to get up and move, and, while you’re moving, actually do something.They’re worth a listen for their lyrics (“Break in case of anything, when I say anything, I really mean everything” is my personal favorite), they’ll make you stay for the groovy rhythms, and if none of that convinces you they’re worth a live show, I’d go for the chance to hear the confusion at their name alone. That, and a band needs money for its chunky peanut butter.

“When I’m on a budget, I buy smooth because I get more mileage from it. But if i have money, I definitely prefer chunky.”

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Fresh Bakin’ note:  This concert is also the official pre-party for the Giant Secret Music Festival featuring Allen Stone.  Fresh Bakin’ will be giving away two tickets to the Giant Secret Music Festival at this event. Find out more about the festival at: http://www.giantsecret.com/ 

CHK CHK CH 2013