Xiu Xiu have created the musical equivalent of a fever dream, and it’s impossible not
Published on February 19th, 2016 | by Kelly Crichton1
!!! (Chk Chk Chk) – CCA, Glasgow (14th February 2016) – LIVE REVIEW
This article was written by Kelly Crichton, a GIGSoup Contributor. Edited by Natalie Whitehouse. Lead photo by mirzashewrote
A night of many firsts was the ultimate outcome of this !!! (aka Chk Chk Chk) gig. The CCA is quite a unique, intimate and modern venue, spitting distance from Glasgow’s O2 ABC on Sauchiehall Street. The first, first was sitting beside the band without recognising them immediately, they were, after all, fairly unassuming looking. The second, first was that the support band, Stereolad was in fact the main band, doing Stereolab covers, or they could probably better be described as a tribute band, in fact.
Lead ‘performer’, because he is so much more than a singer, Nic Offer, took to the stage dressed in very pretty blue gingham dress a la Mary Hensen and performed as a mish-mash of alter egos of her and Lætitia Sadier. Admittedly, the black worn loafers looked a little out of place with his ensemble but the whole surreal experience was very entertaining, refreshing and a welcome reminder of some of the quality produced by Stereolab back in the early nineties. An energetic and up for it crowd were already bouncing by the end of the set and well-warmed up for what promised to be a good night ahead.
!!! have been together for a long time, and it shows. They are a band that are super confident and comfortable with each other. Nic Offer returns to the stage sans dress but now sporting short trousers, a baby blue t-shirt and those black loafers that seem out of place with all his stage attire. The rest of the band are more conventionally dressed.
The next dozen tracks surprise and delight in equal measure. !!! are kings of ballsy funk. Offer’s high-energy, stage traversing performance is explosive and funny. We are treated to podium-style dancing that would put Kylie to shame, and one has to wonder if Offer was, in a past life, an exotic performer of some sort.
Offer knows how to work the crowd and does so from the get go but particularly on tracks like ‘ ‘til the Money Runs Out’ and upon launching himself into the crowd on ‘Except Death’. This is taken to a whole new level by the encore when he spends most of the song dancing one to one with many members of the audience. The crowd loved it and happily obliged with gyrating hips and disco hands aloft.
About half way through the set the whole band bar the drummer take up a different position, keyboards and synths moves to vocal, bass moves to synth and drums, lead guitar becomes bass and vocal becomes keyboards – that’s two drummers on one set of drums by the way. Frantic, fierce and completely functional.
The size of the crowd, at a guess about 300, means everyone has room to dance, even right at the front, which is not a common sight at gigs and it is so refreshing, so liberating, and conducive to the whole performance and enjoyment of the evening. ‘Freedom ‘15’ has the whole room moving and it doesn’t really stop until the end of the encore. Another highlight comes at the end of the evening when wondering if the fun will ever stop, in the shape of ‘I Feel so Free (Citation Needed),’ an extended singalong that goes on and on.
Two extremely different bands played that night, but both were excellent. Being able to switch between such diverse musical performances shows true love of their craft and experience and skill that can really only come with being a band for as long as !!! have.
The essence of funk that laces this band’s music is certainly born of the 70s and what with all things 70s being so a la mode !!! deserve the limelight and a place centre-stage right now. An outstanding, refreshing, dance-party that had everything good gigs should. A triumph.