photos by P Squared Photography; words by Bill Pearis

Viet Cong @ Union Pool, 1/28/2014
Viet Cong
Viet Cong

After having flights canceled twice (due to Winter Storm Juno), Canadian band Viet Cong made it into NYC just in time for their first of two sold-out record release shows, which happened at Union Pool Wednesday night (1/28). I had seen them twice last year -- at one of our SXSW parties and at 4 Knots -- but this was the first time where I had actually gotten to listen to a lot of their music beforehand. Which certainly helps, given their sometimes gnarled, labrynthine sound.

While there are definite echoes of Gang of Four, Wire, Neu!, Joy Division and other postpunk/kraut influences, Viet Cong don't really sound like any of them. It's a weird, complex blend of those things, put through a kaleidoscopic lens filter. It makes a lot more sense watching them live, where you can see that something you thought was just one guitar part is actually two separate ones, or "oh that's a keyboard." Add to that drummer Mike Wallace (who's mom flew in from Calgary just for these NYC shows) rarely plays a straight 4/4 beat. Some of the best parts of their live show, however, happen when they burrow into a groove or bring a Fall-like level of repetition, like the pounding middle of "Death" which closes their new album (and last night's set). A really great show.

Both openers at Union Pool were terrific: Honey, whose brand of rock seems born straight from Detroit, 1970; and the arty/skronky PC Worship (Viet Cong frontman/bassist Matt Flegel was up front for their whole set). Viet Cong play again tonight (1/29) at Mercury Lounge with What Moon Things, which is also sold out. Hopefully they'll be back sooner than later.

Update: Mercury Lounge pics are up. More pictures of last night's show, below...

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PC Worship

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Viet Cong

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