June 22, 2015
That Was The Show That Was: Viet Cong, Girl Band, Palehound | The Sinclair | 16 June
[PHOTO: Dillon Riley] Attentive readers will recall that we were captivated by the initial offerings from then-shadowy Canadian collective Viet Cong. The buzzed-about foursome sprung from the ashes of brotherly outfit Women, but the music on its demo collection-turned-debut Cassette went to significantly darker places than those mapped by the erstwhile act. Exactly one more massive LP -- and, it should be noted, one less-massive tempest in a teapot -- later, and the band's proverbial stock has risen rapidly to a rarified place marked by high-profile festival slots and, if last Tuesday’s show in Cambridge, Mass. is any indication, packed and frantic club tours.
That rapid ascent does not mean the quartet hasn't put in the time. Indeed, Viet Cong has already logged an insane amount of miles on the road, and was in Boston less than a year ago. While the choice of ordering its live set in chronological release order might suggest tedious performance by rote to someone who didn't actually see last week's show, the band played as if free from any long-standing road weariness when it took to the improbably tall stage at the Sinclair in Harvard Square. There Viet Cong breathed vibrancy into tracks off the aforementioned Cassette and its thrilling, self-titled collection released in January. Early highlights "Throw It Away" and "Unconscious Melody" were as elastic and catchy as ever, even as the tunes remain somewhat defined by their influences.
But the set's most gratifying moments arrived when the band dipped into its most recent material. Viet Cong endeavors to bend accepted post-punk templates to its own idiosyncratic vision in the music of its self-titled long player, and the dense sonic world they created there gets stretched to its very limits when presented live. While tunes including "Bunker Buster" that could loosely be described as, well, loose were rendered as taut, danceable salvos at Sinclair, Viet Cong refused to be confined by its compositions. And so the krautrock-y keyboard lead intro to "March Of Progress" was extended into a marathon jam, and the already transcendent, 12-minute long "Death" sprawled into a nearly 20-minute, start-stop noise epic during which guitar strings were literally pulled from frets. This was decidedly NOT the sight and sound of a band bored with a relatively limited oeuvre, and we cannot wait to see what they do with the next batch of songs they tour into oblivion.
Hotly tipped Irish four-piece Girl Band provided touring support, delivering new tunes from a planned debut LP to be released this fall whose fury and creative anti-virtuosity matched the vibe of their singles and EPs. And Clicky Clicky faves Palehound opened with tunes off their now-officially forthcoming debut LP Dry Food, which is due Aug. 14 via hit factory Exploding In Sound. Viet Cong is out now via Jagjaguwar and it is available for purchase right here. Stream cuts from the record, as well as the new Palehound joint "Molly," below. -- Dillon Riley
Viet Cong: Bandcamp | Facebook
Girl Band: Bandcamp | Facebook | Internerds
Palehound: Bandcamp | Facebook