New Name, Same Band: Preoccupations Captivated Neumos

After a not-so-friendly welcome during their last visit to Seattle about a year ago, Preoccupations (formally Viet Cong) gave Neumos another try, this time under a new name. Preoccupations’ set transformed; from a background of complex, beautiful and delicate melodies, paired with frontman Matt Flegel’s dark, low, and haunting voice, I was amazed.


Photo by Julia Olson

Openers Methyl Ethel brought an interesting and much-needed touch of dream pop-influenced post-punk to the show on November 2. A little brighter than Preoccupations but with that overarching darkness still present, Methyl Ethel paired well with the headliners. Methyl Ethel achieves such a full and dreamy sound for just containing three members, and singer Jake Webb added his complex and varying vocals to create a spacy vibe. Better live than on recordings, last night was Methyl Ethel’s last stop of their tour with Preoccupations, and I am certainly grateful for their presence at the show.

Preoccupations opened their set with my favorite song off their new album, “Anxiety,” and shortly followed into “Sillouettes,” a classic crowd pleaser off their first album, Viet Cong. The way Matt Flegel is able to contort his voice to achieve such a gripping and emotionally dark tone is captivating. Simultaneously, he manages to also repel listeners with his voice’s driven and all-too-honest depth. The crowd was smaller than the quality of the music deserved, but just as it was when I saw Preoccupations at Sasquatch last year: even though the crowd was small, each person in the audience felt as though Preoccupations was the next thing.


Photo by Julia Olson

With only two albums out, the band played through a good chunk of their discography, only notably leaving out their well-received song “Bunker Buster” found on their debut.

Preoccupations closed their set with an extended version of the already overwhelming eleven minute long “Death” off of Viet Cong, adding an additional five minutes or so of pure post-punk riffs. There was a point during “Death” were I closed my eyes and swayed on the spot, letting Matt’s deep voice and prominent bass lines consume me. 

Preoccupations’ show on the second was one of the better shows I have been to. They expertly combined the dark undertones associated with post-punk with their own unique brand of bass and vocals, creating a sound both relatable and healing to the darkest corners of ourselves.



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