!!! in Sacramento

Post Author: Julia Marino

Chk Chk Chk’s Myspace page still reads “Brooklyn, NY” as its location, but who even checks that site anymore? Facebook lists its hometown as Sacramento, CA. It’s been a dual citizenship for the dance punkers, but more than ever it feels as though Sactown is reclaiming the rights to Chk Chk Chk.

When I first moved to Sacramento, Chk Chk Chk played Harlow’s, a swank venue on the fringes of Midtown, to a fairly packed house. Oddly enough, I was never let on to the fact that the group was playing to friends. Frontman Nic Offer did his signature dancing, arms stiff at his waistline, thrusting his pelvic back and forth over the heads of the front row, but never did he shout out his hometown to my recollection. It would be months later when I caught wind of Chk Chk Chk recording in Sac that I discovered its origins.

The recording sessions were the makings of Strange Weather, Isn’t It? That week Chk Chk Chk tested the waters on its new material each night at a dive called Press Club. In the past year Chk Chk Chk has played numerous one-off shows in Sactown dives, delivering the same unbridled energy whether 50 or 12 people showed up, which is how it goes down here.

Monday at Harlow’s felt like a special evening though. Ganglians opened, to which drummer Alex Sowles told me later in the week it was the most nervous he’s ever been before a show. The venue was packed tight on the dance floor by the time Chk Chk Chk hit the stage. The energy didn’t let up once during the set, as Offer strutted about in his short shorts, thrusting uncontrollably.

To further illustrate the band’s reclamation of its hometown, I need to depart for a side anecdote. A few months ago I was in Trader Joe’s with a friend who needed to purchase a gallon of milk. Our checkout girl was gorgeous and playfully told my friend not to drink his purchase in one sitting. He froze up and said something stupid like, “I won’t” and we left. In the parking lot we lamented over the exchange, he kicked himself for being awkward and I focused on her attractiveness.

Flash forward to Harlow’s and Nic Offer invites a girl named Savannah on stage to sing back up vocals. As she delivered a flawless execution of her part in “Wannagain Wannagain” it occurred to me that it was our Trader Joe’s checkout girl on stage. “She learned these songs in a week, what have you done,” Pope joked. She’s probably not joining them on tour for any further dates or becoming an unofficial member, but anything further would detract from the luster of playing in your hometown. Even though, the stop was part of a larger tour, it felt like one of the better one-off nights that Chk Chk Chk played Sac.

Playing with friends. Playing for friends.