Viet Cong took the stage at Larimer Lounge with only seven usable arms between their four members. The bum appendage belonged to drummer Mike Wallace, who, despite the sling holding his left arm captive, still managed to beat the absolute hell out of his kit.
To be fair, every member beat the absolute hell out of their instrument. Lead guitarist Daniel Christiansen probably would have attempted a full headstand while playing his guitar had his pedals not been in the way. Frontman Matt Flegel and guitarist Monty Munro were consistently mere inches from colliding. And Wallace played so hard with his remaining hand that he broke his stool. If they were exhausted by their stint at South by Southwest just days ago, they certainly didn’t show it.
Flegel’s disarming goofiness fit oddly well within the short intervals between songs. His charm scanned as unpretentious and self-aware, even unique. Lots of frontmen swear onstage. Few say, “Heavens me!” before they do it, then manage to make both the expletives and the antiquated expression sound totally normal together. Well then.
Split between their 2014 EP, Cassette, and their self-titled debut album, the forty-minute set seemed almost cathartic, as though the band needed to expel a few demons. The most noteworthy exorcism occurred during the final song, “Death.” They stretched their debut album’s eleven-minute opus to sixteen noisy minutes, resulting in a ferocious jam you kept thinking would end sooner than it did but also hoped would go on forever.
Upon finishing, Wallace toppled his kit à la Keith Moon and sent the broken stool flying over his kickdrum. The rest of the band, drenched in sweat by this point, dropped their instruments unceremoniously and strolled off stage. Given that their rendition of “Death” had been the most definitive finale imaginable, and that one more song might have done them all in for good, the lack of an encore was a smart choice. And possibly a life-saving one too.
Throw It Away