VietNam | 06.16.07 | West Chester, PA

Words by: Chris Pacifico :: Images by Christie Harrison

Vietnam :: 06.16.07 :: Rex's :: West Chester, PA

Berko and Gerner - VietNam :: 06.16
There is no more perfect place in the world for a VietNam gig than Rex's. The club's slogan is "If you love the show Cheers then you're going to hate Rex's." Ain't that the truth? Nonetheless, it's nice to go where everybody knows my name and with this being my favorite and most geographically convenient watering hole, VietNam stopped by only a week after their infamous San Francisco performance with the Black Angels.

On this night it was only Michael Gerner and Ivan Berko in toe that gave an intimate and stripped down performance. Rex's is located just a hair outside the Philadelphia County line so the smoking ban has no clout in this venue, and it all seemed to waft around Gerner's beard and head, especially during a minimal rendition of "Step on Inside".

Michael Gerner - VietNam :: 06.16
His gravely, raspy voice echoed throughout the bar so even the people talking were drawn in. With a Parliament Light hanging from his mouth AND somehow, astonishingly, not setting fire to his beard, Berko gently emitted the bass lines while going through Pabst Blue Ribbons pounders like the alcohol was a slow buzz IV that had him tapping his feet and nodding his head to the rhythm.

Things really fell into place when Gerner uttered the words "Well, if you stick it up my nose" from "Mr. Goldfinger" which elicited a rousing roar from the crowd. At first, some were disappointed to see only half of VietNam. A full, loud rocking set from them, of all bands, would have been appropriate at a bar so sleazy it's rumored that you can catch the clap just from sitting on one of the commodes shortly after the skanks who frequent the place. But, the sheer, hazy vibe conjured by Gerner's Credence-like guitar licks and deep lyrics sucked in the all the drunkards with divided attention. It all seemed apt at a venue where riff raff, both young and old, hang out with lots of loose women and dirty beer glasses. And there's no soap or paper towels in the bathroom, too.

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[Published on: 8/15/07]

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RothburyWithCheese star Wed 8/15/2007 12:26PM
Show -3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
rulosa01 Wed 8/15/2007 03:03PM
-1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

West Chester is not sleazey, in the slightest

rabbitsfoot starstar Wed 8/15/2007 06:53PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


seems to me that this writer concentrated more on the atmosphere of the bar than the 2 talented musicians playing that night. if i wanna know about a bar, i'll google it. if i wanna know more about a band, i would hope to find the info on this site. oh, and it doesn't take much to be considered sleezy these days. hell, if you're blue collared and from a small town, your viewed as a worthless middle class american.

canoftunapudding Thu 8/16/2007 07:01AM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Toilet seat clap is the worst

D14 Thu 8/16/2007 08:02AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Sounds like the perfect place for these guys. They really remind me of nomadic traveling gypsies...who sing and play some great tunes. Seen em a couple times in Nashville and the show w/ the Black Angels was hella-good!

guitardave starstarstarstar Thu 8/16/2007 12:07PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Philthadelphia. Those guys look like they could be arrested for vagrancy in the middle of a gig. "But officer..we're working here tonite, let go of my picking hand, man!!!, I'm still plugged in man!!!"

"Tell it to the judge!"

tourfan star Fri 8/17/2007 08:31AM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Can anybody tell me why this band has been booked at MOEDOWN? I really had hoped to get some sort of insight from this "concert review" but thanks for telling me about the cigarette smoke and toilett seats. At least I'll know to avoid this joint if I ever come down your way.

spwal star Sat 8/25/2007 04:40AM
-1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


So glad they are out of moe.down. sounds like a whole lot of negativity. thanks for them not coming anymore. i was genuinely concerned they would be a damper on the weekend. see you at moe.down!

guitardave starstarstarstarstar Mon 8/27/2007 12:03PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


How could these guys affect an entire weekend? Maybe if you had to share your tent with them: "Hey Berko, wash that effin' poncho already!, Yo Mike you drank my last beer!" I think they live at Rex's.