It must be said that tonight has more than a little bit of a burden on it’s back; hype. It isn’t really an ideal word for any artist or act to have hung round their neck before they get fair chance to prove themselves. Rightly or wrongly, it puts me off before I give people my attention and it’s fair to say Viet Cong have had a lot ahead of this gig.
Thankfully, all the buzz and excitement mixed in with an early album of the year contender aside, they don’t disappoint.
It would be rude to ignore the supports at any gig and it was well worth turning up early.
Toys were first up and they immediately came over well with a passionate and accomplished performance, plying their trade as something akin to New Order smothered in taut kraut-rock rhythms.They were a good start, although I felt as though maybe this was quite an early gig for them as a band. Plenty of potential here.
A friend of mine made a comment about Absolutely Free that definitely sums up their presence this evening; “having a support act THAT good is a very bold, brave decision indeed”.
Absolutely Free are more than just a clever joke name for posters; they are the real deal as far as technical ability, grooves and atmosphere go. They get everyone into their intriguing and beguiling set that flirts with odd time signatures, dense rhythmic layers and plenty of electronic trickery. Not only do they sound great, they play it with conviction and skill. They are a tough act for anyone to follow.
Most of Viet Cong have been eagerly enjoying the other acts down at the front with the rest of us throughout, but when they step on stage they command it. And in the most endearing of ways.
From the off, you could tell that this is going to be one of those gigs you fondly remember – everything was powerfully delivered, crystal clear and note perfect.
In between songs they casually hold court with fans, answering a few boisterous voices questions and laughing at their responses. Not one beat missed, no awkward pauses and everyone getting lost in what could become a swamp if it were played sloppily.
Highlights of the set are hard to choose; they even throw in a brand new song that frankly was up there with their best to date – jokes were made about not being too sure on certain parts, but you couldn’t remotely notice anything out of place.
A great gig from a genuinely great band who are deserving of whatever this years best of lists throw their way.
Review by Matthew Pease-Bower | @OPLband