Preview | VietNam at Dante's (PDX)

Vietnam_Michael Gerner_Credit David Black

[A]fter six years of working on film scores in Los Angeles, Michael Gerner has returned to VietNam… where he can steep his creative imagination in banh mi, water marionette shows, and endless rivers of Tiger Beer. Since he’s returned to VietNam, he has birthed an album called An A.merican D.ream, which presumably laments the glories and woes of his stint in, comparatively pho-deprived, California. …Kidding! VietNam is the ultimately impossible-to-find-on-Google name of Gerner’s band. What it has to do with the country of Vietnam is not entirely clear. We’ll have to ask him. Anyway, VietNam-the-band’s most recent album conjures the sprawling moods of a surreal film score; at times minimal and sentimental, but just at the right moment, shifting to a frenzied stream-of-consciousness ballad about…I don’t know, some crazy shit, man. Hints of blues and classic rock lend some focus to the otherwise very impressionistic style of An A.merican D.ream, and Gerner’s voice is lovely when the amps don’t drown it out. The whole package – Gerner, the wild hair and wild beards, the impetuous attitude, hard-luck lyrics, and lack of anything resembling Vietnamese culture – is compelling nonetheless. Their show in Portland on May 4th  with Gap Dream and Small Arms should be delightfully wretched. And Dante’s, whose slogan, “It’s better to burn out than to fade away,” seems a choice venue for these fiery soldiers.

Tickets are available here.

And here’s a song they sing.