With Northside Festival well under way, I ventured out to good ole’ Bedford Avenue to see what bands tickled my fancy. My final destination ended up being Music Hall of Williamsburg to see an intriguing lineup of American Wrestlers, Girl Band, and Viet Cong. With the marquee overhead reading the ever-loved words “sold out,” it promised to be something entertaining enough to take my mind off of the sweltering temperatures just outside.
With a drink in my left hand, and my camera in my right, openers American Wrestlers took the stage. What front man Gary McClure intended as an idle way to pass the time, this lo-fi band ended up laying down some solid songs, ripe with whimsical lyrics, crisp drums, and just the right amount of keyboard flourishes and distortion to get the crowd swaying along. I heard enough hoots and hollers from the people behind me to know that they approved.
Next up was Girl Band, and imagine my surprise when four guys strolled out onstage. Lead singer Dara Kiely leisurely sipped his drink as Daniel Fox, Alan Duggan and Adam Faulkner carved out a blanket of distorted instrumentation for him to sing over. He calmly placed his drink on the floor beneath him, grabbed the mic in the most awesome rockstar pose ever and just let all hell break loose via his vocal chords. I felt my eyebrows shoot clear up off my head. To say I wasn’t expecting that would be a huge understatement. It was absolute insanity, but in such a surprising way I started grinning like a complete idiot. I don’t normally enjoy “screamy bands” like this, but they were really something.
With our minds, hearts and eardrums barely holding on by threads, Viet Cong took the stage and absolutely wrecked MHoW. Lead singer Matt Flegel was in great spirits, joking and bantering with the crowd in between songs. The songs themselves, seemed to blend into each other and took on a trance like quality as they stretched on. I looked to my left and saw the entire front row bobbing in time with each guitar hit during “Death.” Behind me a complete circled formed and I knew what was about to happen. The mosh pit broke out and I did my best not to get hit. The poor girl behind me who frantically asked me if they played “Continental Shelf” wasn’t so lucky. I don’t think she even cared about the hit in the head once they started playing that song, because her face turned from anguish to pure joy. Nevertheless, Viet Cong laid down an epic performance for their sold out audience and proved why they are one of the names that come to mind when “great post-punk bands” is mentioned.
Article: Lesley Keller