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VietNam out of Texas

Those bands worth a listen because they are so different, but not so far out there that you can’t get a grip on the music — I hate it when that happens. VietNam is from the school of power-chord minimalists. Forty years ago, we’d have called them an acid-rock band. But VietNam is far too hi-fi and musically organized to be lumped into the jam-band file. There’s an urgency in the message and a blackness in the band’s lyric-writing that would make even the king of all head-kickers, Charles Bukowski, shudder with delight. Consider the title of VietNam’s first album: The Concrete Is Always Grayer on the Other Side of the Street. Deadly.

The band started out in Austin only a few years ago, the result of jamming and song crafting that went on between a couple of University of Texas buddies named Michael Gerner and Joshua Grubb. They eventually stepped out and made wall-of-sound stoner rock in a band with a saxophone that never got the industry attention it deserved (in my opinion), lived on the road in a van, and eventually made their way to Brooklyn, New York, where the VietNam membership would come to change several times over. The last man standing these days is Gerner, who is the band’s chief songwriter.

Another pop critic once tried to describe Gerner, who has a tendency to preach his lyrics rather than sing them, as being “positioned somewhere between genius and mental breakdown.”

But that pretty much describes all of us, right? No, there’s more to the VietNam band story — call it bombast. And, like Led Zeppelin, bombast is a sound these hairy dudes make pretty well. Touring now behind their third album, An A.merican D.ream, VietNam is a shoo-in for Austin’s Psych Fest. That’s where they’ll be after their stopover in Normal Heights.

Gap Dream and Tomorrows Tulips also perform.

VietNam: Soda Bar, Tuesday, April 30, 8:30 p.m. 619-225-7224. $10.

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Those bands worth a listen because they are so different, but not so far out there that you can’t get a grip on the music — I hate it when that happens. VietNam is from the school of power-chord minimalists. Forty years ago, we’d have called them an acid-rock band. But VietNam is far too hi-fi and musically organized to be lumped into the jam-band file. There’s an urgency in the message and a blackness in the band’s lyric-writing that would make even the king of all head-kickers, Charles Bukowski, shudder with delight. Consider the title of VietNam’s first album: The Concrete Is Always Grayer on the Other Side of the Street. Deadly.

The band started out in Austin only a few years ago, the result of jamming and song crafting that went on between a couple of University of Texas buddies named Michael Gerner and Joshua Grubb. They eventually stepped out and made wall-of-sound stoner rock in a band with a saxophone that never got the industry attention it deserved (in my opinion), lived on the road in a van, and eventually made their way to Brooklyn, New York, where the VietNam membership would come to change several times over. The last man standing these days is Gerner, who is the band’s chief songwriter.

Another pop critic once tried to describe Gerner, who has a tendency to preach his lyrics rather than sing them, as being “positioned somewhere between genius and mental breakdown.”

But that pretty much describes all of us, right? No, there’s more to the VietNam band story — call it bombast. And, like Led Zeppelin, bombast is a sound these hairy dudes make pretty well. Touring now behind their third album, An A.merican D.ream, VietNam is a shoo-in for Austin’s Psych Fest. That’s where they’ll be after their stopover in Normal Heights.

Gap Dream and Tomorrows Tulips also perform.

VietNam: Soda Bar, Tuesday, April 30, 8:30 p.m. 619-225-7224. $10.

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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