Preoccupations Let Their Music Do the Talking at Warsaw on FridayOctober 17th, 2016
Preoccupations – Warsaw – October 14, 2016
Preoccupations emerged from the shadows on Friday night before a Warsaw crowd that turned out to welcome their return. The battle-tested group from north of the border performed in Brooklyn to shed the ignominy of their former name, Viet Cong. Due to outcry over its sociopolitical significance, the Canadian quartet’s name has changed, but the sound that rippled through the alternative-music sphere last year has not. Quietly poised and locked in, the four members were eager to let their music do the talking—the only statement necessary. Lovers of post-punk delivered in an impressive balance of force, detail and cohesion got what they come for. Enough was said and then some.
The stalwart standout numbers “Continental Shelf” and “Death” from their universally lauded Viet Cong traded punches with bracing songs from the new record—a second self-titled album, albeit with a different name than the first one—including “Degraded” and “Memory,” which sent the room into blissful, uninhibited frenzy, with moshers flailing about like wild animals beneath a full moon. There’s an appreciation that forms from watching four people who clearly enjoy playing with one another. It’s as if their bond was forged further by the travails of the past couple of years.
Now it’s clear that Preoccupations are just happy to be back performing for their fans, all unintended political views aside. The band plays with total absorption in the atmosphere they conjure, and the audience’s response is incidental. One gets the sense that Preoccupations would play with the same amount of focus and passion to an empty room. But on Friday, the room was full and their presence was rewarded in great measure. —Charles Steinberg | @Challyolly