Concert Review: !!!/Bearstronaut

Concert Review: !!!/Bearstronaut

!!! has always felt a bit like an underdog.

Boston was positively blazing outside, summer heat sizzling into blurred, sweaty visions, but that didn’t stop !!! from turning Brighton Music Hall into a disco inferno. Singer and frontman extraordinaire Nic Offer had a seemingly limitless amount of stamina as he took the stage in a contradictory yet wholly expected mix of short shorts and a classy blazer. Hips thrusted, fingers wagged and Offer sweated through that top as Boston got down and boogied during !!!’s short but sweet set.

Locals Bearstronaut opened with their fun, if not entirely compelling synth pop. Their music is worthy of some rug-cutting action, but it felt too poppy—too slick and polished for the occasion. They certainly have a promising future, but at times they were at odds against !!!’s more hedonistic flair.

!!! has always felt a bit like an underdog. Maybe it’s the impossible to Google name, but I’ve always gotten the impression that they should be bigger than they actually are. A few minutes before they took the stage, Brighton was somewhat sparse, not sold-out but not depressingly empty either. However, as banger after banger knocked the crowd over, the dancing horde slowly grew. It was as if people outside could hear !!!’s beautiful racket and couldn’t help but drop a hot 20 bucks to get in.

And that’s the thing about !!!—while there isn’t a whole lot of variety in their discography, they rarely skip a beat when it comes to quality. Their latest, this year’s Shake the Shudder, is bursting with dancefloor fillers, though we were only treated to a handful of songs from each album. It was a surprisingly quick jam—the band hit the ground dancing a bit past nine and ended a few minutes after 10, but their energetic approach to everything made it feel like I caught them midway through their set. No build up, no dramatic entrances, just pure movement for an hour and some change.

Offer’s repertoire of body-contorting gyrations did not disappoint, and Brighton’s respectably sized stage felt positively tiny as he teetered on the very edge of it. Every shimmy, from the classic disco-reckoning one finger aloft to the so-ridiculous-it-works “head, shoulders, knees and toes”, was on full display, both on stage and in the crowd. At times, he would catch backing singer Meah Pace’s attention and the duo would strut their stuff. They even managed to work in a few synchronized dances much to the crowd’s delight.

Their high-octane moves were met with a relentlessly funky slap. While a very loose “NRGQ” threatened to derail things from the get go, the band managed to rein it all in while still pushing slightly towards the edge of chaos—disco with its sheen wiped away, replaced by a punkish kick. Fan favorites “One Girl / One Boy” and “All U Writers” were transportive, their vibes and rhythms recalled both New York’s Studio 54 and London’s Trash, while still feeling fresh and in the moment. Meanwhile, newer cut “The One 2”’s deep synths gave the song a modern quality, and Pace delivered a throwback melody that wouldn’t be out of place in a ‘90s house song. While they’ll always be rooted to dance in its most quintessential form, it’s their eclectic mix of the old and the new that makes !!! an always exciting prospect.

“We didn’t think you guys were clapping loud enough, but Meah forced us back on stage,” joked Offer as they settled into an encore of “Heart of Hearts.” !!! left exactly as they came on, blissfully lost in a tight groove that could have stretched out forever. Once the house lights went up, Brighton was hungry for more. However, it’s hard to believe that anyone left disappointed. !!!’s manic energy laid it all out on the table and provided an exemplary model for all those looking to just shut up and dance.

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