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Jeff Moehlis: !!! Brings the Funk Zone to SOhO

Singer Nic Offer wows the audience with his dance moves

Local geography says that Santa Barbara’s Funk Zone is the, well, funky area loosely bordered by State, Garden, Yanonali and Mason streets. But on Tuesday night, the Funk Zone extended all the way up to the SOhO Restaurant & Music Club, courtesy of a rockin’ funk-punk concert by !!!.

By whom, you ask? !!!. What? !!!.

OK, !!! is the name of a Sacramento-based band that filters the energy of punk rock into a dancey, funky mix. Their name can be pronounced in different ways — usually it’s taken to be “Chk Chk Chk,” but any three percussive sounds are acceptable.

And “percussive sounds” is a good way to describe their music. Of course, the music has drums, both real and machine-generated. But the other instruments — guitar, bass, keyboards and sometimes saxophone — are often played more rhythmically than melodically, giving some serious grooves that naturally move the listener to dance.

The most enthusiastic dancer was !!! singer Nic Offer, who channeled his inner Napoleon Dynamite to wow and inspire the audience with his moves throughout the concert, whether onstage or in the crowd dancing with the people.

Several of the songs were new, with the band saying they had never been performed live at a show before. Others went as far back as their self-titled 2001 debut album, with “Intensify” closing the show as an encore brought on by ecstatic applause.

Fittingly, a decidedly intense moment came during “Intensify,” after an arguably overzealous security guard cleared a few arguably overzealous audience members off the stage. Offer arguably overzealously pushed the guard offstage and uttered some choice words, but soon enough everyone was back to just dancing, arguably overzealously.

However you choose to pronounce it, !!! put on a great, sweaty, dance-inducing show. Oh, and remember to vote for Pedro.

Noozhawk contributing writer Jeff Moehlis is a professor of mechanical engineering at UCSB. Upcoming show recommendations, advice from musicians, interviews and more are available on his Web site, music-illuminati.com.

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