!!! / Dopes Lee's Palace, Toronto ON July 7

!!! / Dopes Lee's Palace, Toronto ON July 7
Remember the mid-2000s, when indie kids started wearing neon and listening to dance punk? Those days may be behind us, but you never would have known it from the energy !!! brought to Lee's Palace in Toronto.

Opening act Dopes warmed up the crowd with their earnest synth pop. Although pre-recorded drumbeats somewhat detracted from their performance, the strong songwriting was infectious. Singer Josh Reichmann belted convincingly despite the venue being thinly populated at that point.

Thankfully, when !!! came on close to midnight the place was full and the entire set was a rave-up. Frontman Nic Offer flailed and gyrated in short shorts, striking poses throughout the night as guitarist Mario Andreoni slashed out funky riffs and the band laid down tight house rhythms.

At one point, Offer brought an audience member with particularly good moves on stage, and during "Jamie, My Intentions Are Bass," he walked onto the floor to get down with the crowd. In this way, he engaged his fans and lent the night a feeling of communal celebration.

The upbeat mood was a true sign of !!!'s positive outlook and resilience, especially considering that tragedy has struck the band twice in the course of their career. A couple years ago, they lost drummer Jerry Fuchs when he fell down an elevator shaft in Brooklyn, and in 2005, original drummer Mikel Gius was hit by a car while cycling.

While !!! haven't yet released a follow-up to 2010's Strange Weather, Isn't It?, they played some new material that Offer said was from a "brand new album, which we just finished and will be out as soon as the internet says it's cool." He didn't offer any further information about the release, but the sound was unmistakably !!!'s brand of dance music with punk mentality.

They closed the concert, which was the last in a string of Canadian dates, with "Heart of Hearts" off their 2007 album Myth Takes. For the encore, !!! went back to 2001 and whipped out the trumpet and saxophone for "Intensify." If anything, the show proved that trends come and go, but good music lasts.