St. Louis, MO, June 25th, 2004
Despite technical difficulties, despite a bad venue, and despite the fact that it usually takes a fire under St. Louis' ass to get anybody to dance, !!! came to the infamous Creepy Crawl and left the crowd exhausted and cheering for more. The doors opened at 7:30 and, perhaps around 8:15 or so various members of the band came on stage and started spinning records, DJing everything from hip hop and Prince to electronic funk and foot-tapping pop songs and winning over the crowd before a single song had been played. As the group got on stage and began to jam for a soundcheck, several confusing glances were exchanged from the stage to the mixing board, keyboards glitched up, monitors fizzled, Justin Vandervolgen appeared frustrated, and Nic Offer kept the crowd together, continuing to dance to the house music and promising the crowd that they had come to "rock ass." Once things had sort of been worked out (many of the members just shrugging and suggesting they start the music up) the first notes of "Pardon My Freedom" poured out of the speakers. I've never seen a St. Louis crowd react the way they did to the music that night: everyone was sweating their ass off, jumping about, slamming their feet to the floor, and waving their hands in the air because !!! were fucking tearing into the soul of excellence and pouring out an energy that I've never seen from any performers anywhere. Disaster struck again and the monitors that were supposed to be playing behind the percussionists bugged out and completely died. A friend of mine echoed my sentiments when he said "fuck this place, they should've played at Mississippi Nights." The Creepy Crawl is incredibly notorious for being a venue without much to brag about, but despite difficulties the band pressed on and continued tearing the roof off the ceiling and ejecting it into the Mississippi River by playing "Dear Can/King's Weed" with "Hello? Is This Thing On" and "Me and Giuliana Down by the Schoolyard" following right behind. Despite the drummer's being virtually deaf to the rest of the band, the songs sounded absolutely perfect and at no point did anybody in the crowd stop moving. Nic Offer could've told us all to jump off a bridge that night and, in all likely hood, many of us would have. At one point there were kids up on stage dancing with members of the band and Offer was hanging over the crowd from a post near the stage screaming "can U feel it intensify" like a man possessed by the energy that threatened to blow the glass right out of the windows. Only five songs were played, but after the show I managed to ask the band some questions and it was the technical difficulties that kept them from playing further. 5 songs, over an hour of non-stop dance mania, over three hours of total music (including the DJ work), and !!! left without a single mention of disappointment or dissent from the crowd. If !!! can own a city for a night like this with all these technical difficulties, then I can't imagine how incredibly intense they must be when they're at a venue that can actually manage their equipment correctly. I suppose that says something about the band and their dedication, though: although problems persisted, !!! played one of the best and certainly the most fun shows I've ever been to. There is absolutely no excuse for missing a show from these guys and they are still on tour in the US through June 29th. Beginning July 2nd they will be touring throughout Europe with a special show being staged in Japan. The website says there are more US dates to come and all I can do is wait patiently and hope they either come back to St. Louis are play somewhere very close.