Words by: Chris Pacifico :: Images by Christie Harrison
Vietnam :: 06.16.07 :: Rex's :: West Chester, PA
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.
| Berko and Gerner - VietNam :: 06.16|
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".
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.
| Michael Gerner - VietNam :: 06.16|
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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