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May 23, 2007

!!! likes to dance-dance-dance; Rice takes on the night

Show by show, !!! (pronounced Chk-Chk-Chk or any three consecutive sounds/words) is writing its own version of “Around the World in 80 Days.”Brooklyn’s eight-piece, dance-punk amalgam is in the midst of a world tour that started back in February, with no signs of stopping soon. “Looking back now, it’s been a wild journey,” singer Nic Offer said last week. “My only apprehension is how we’ll feel at the end of it all.”Good luck finding an ounce of apprehension at !!! shows. For the last 10 years, the group has based its reputation on ass-shaking party anthems without taking themselves too seriously. Audiences the world over now know that when !!! comes to town, they expect to leave with sore feet and satisfied eardrums.“People here pretty much know the deal, so they show up to dance with us,” said Offer, a longtime dancing machine (“The first tape I ever had,” he says, “was Bee Gees Greatest Hits”) who needs as much space on stage as possible during the shows that are growing more intense every night.“It’s better than ever,” Offer said. “We’ve got it down to a science. The whole thing unfolds, working toward the climax. We try to stagger it so that songs stand out against each other.”Opening the show is Holy Fuck, who return to Louisville (the last time they opened for Beans) to spread spontaneous, some say “electronic,” music with live instruments, rebuilt electronic pianos and assorted gadgets, as well as Athens, Ga.’s Maserati.•••These days in the Land that Spawned U2, they rave about Damien Rice, who’s no secret to Louisville audiences. Rice was in the Irish indie rock group Juniper, which signed to Polygram in 1997. The group released an EP, Manna, but was unable to record a full-length due to contractual rules. Rice quit and moved to Italy in 1999, where he busked on the streets of Tuscany for a year and then around Europe before returning to his homeland.His previous album, O, won the prestigious Shortlist Music Prize in 2003 and elevated him in Irish music annals. 9, released last fall, is a Lennon- and Dylan-inspired odyssey of intimate songcraft that Rice has described as “a record of a certain mood,” similar to O but progressing.He stays tight-lipped about the subject matter of his songs, he says at damienrice.com, because he wants to leave them open to interpretation. To allow that kind of freedom for the listener is always appreciated. Tickets for this all-ages show are still available. Contact the writer at mherron@leoweekly.com