Calgary, Canada’s Viet Cong arrived at Auditorium Shores worn and naked. The show had to go on.
"American Airlines lost all of our sh*t," singer and bassist Matt Flegel told the Orange Stage faithful Friday afternoon. "We took an Uber from Dallas to Austin at 2:30 in the morning last night."
It’s unclear what the airline lost, but it appears to have included the band’s litany of fuzzy, washed-out pedals. The kind that can make lanky, bearded men’s vocals sound like post-punk heartbreakers: echoed and layered. (Joy Division’s Ian Curtis and his disciples, basically.)
Luckily Flegel can substitute stoic, robotic vocals for everyman howling. In a blue T-shirt, bald spot, and sucking back hard ciders, he resembled more a regular at local bars like the Haymaker that earnestly broadcast soccer. Devoid of filters, his band dialed in and played cohesive, King Kong-rampage rock.
Drummer Mike Wallace, here shirtless and with bleached hair, rebelliously pummeled his kit and moved his brethren along with the urgency of an audition. The trim budget of total songs–this band is three years old and boasts two limited-run EPs, the album comes in January–brought to life to these perpetually trucked out songs. Driving gems like "Pointless Experience" from January’s self-titled EP reached out and kissed the overcast sky.
A quick word about the name: Yes, it’s comically insensitive to name your band after a murderous communist party that wreaked havoc on dissenters. It’s a byproduct of being perennially detached and not being more examined about the appropriating implications of your band’s name. But hey they fixed that in September: "We are a band who want to make music and play our music for our fans. We are not here to cause pain or remind people of atrocities of the past."
That makes the Fun Fun Fun Fest engagement among the last times the world will hear this Canadian four piece as Viet Cong. Viet Cong is dead. Long live Viet Cong.