Who wears tartan shorts in England in December? Nic Offer, he of New York punk funk inspired disco iconoclasts !!! (Chk Chk Chk), does and damn, if he doesn’t it with a sense of style. In fact, both Offer and front woman Meah Pace are looking particularly glamorous as they dance for us this evening. She’s all dolled up in a shimmery silver cat suit affair, looking like Eartha Kitt ready to party down the line on Soul Train and, because it’s near freezing here by the sea, the rest of us fools are all decked out in coats, hats and scarves, blissfully unaware how warm it’s about to get.
Talking of the dreaded D word, that one that rhymes with Crisco, we need to give thanks to Miss Meah for bringing back some dance moves that for too long have been relegated to the cringe bin. She brought us variations of the hustle, the bus stop, and the car wash. At one point she even locked and loaded an impressive set of pistol fingers, zapping the audience, left right and centre. With each shot she fired, she must have raised the temperature a good 10 degrees because when they jokingly made reference to leaving after three songs, the crowd were all panting, laughing and hoping they were kidding.
That’s the other thing that should convert you to the group, if you’re not already a lifelong fan. The humour of it all. They’re goofy, the whole bunch of them. They continuously make silly comments about roast dinners and people’s mums, about travelling to France and never playing gigs in the quiet spa town of Bath, about Nic being profusely sweaty and needing said bath. They’ve had a tumultuous back history in terms of band members coming and going, but they’ve forged a solid unit as a result, becoming a tight fit.
It’s always surprising to remember that the band is on Warp Records here in the UK, that bastion of ever so serious chin stroking ‘difficult’ electronica, since this music is the complete opposite of their usual roster. It’s annoyingly infectious, relatively simple and for want of a better word: joyous. Can you imagine Evian Christ asking a crowd to do a thunderous soul clap? Would Boards Of Canada climb speaker stacks, shake their bootys and do sultry strip teases? Can we petition Autechre to add some call and response ‘ooh ooh’s to their next LP?
The newest !!! LP is titled Wallop, an intensely agreeable and quintessentially British sounding word, and a perfect descriptor for the raucous sounds it contains. The lyrics are filled with swagger and insouciance that covers a sense of insecurity. Not that you’d get that from the way the band bait the crowd to ever more euphoric heights. They know how to make a room come alive through melody. They always have done. They play some absolute blinders tonight, namely This Is The Door and Slow Motion from the new LP, NRGQ and Dancing Is The Best Revenge from 2017’s Shake The Shudder gets the crowd bouncing along but it’s the blistering, almost endless take on Freedom ‘15 from 2015’s As If that will be the moment that most will remember most fondly. For the longest moment, the band slips away from their disco groove into a more insular house vein, with the lyric pleading with the listener “Now that you got what you wanted, now that you got your freedom, what you gonna do with it baby?” Tonight, there was only one way we could respond and that was to get on down and party.