Viet Cong Show Cancelled over "Problematic" Band Name

BY Gregory AdamsPublished Mar 3, 2015

Post-punk outfit Viet Cong's ongoing North American tour has hit a snag, with promoters in Oberlin, OH, saying they've cancelled a concert date later this month due to the "problematic nature" of Calgary group's band name.

Over the weekend, promoter Ivan Krasnov issued a statement on the Facebook page for Oberlin College venue Dionysus Disco explaining that Viet Cong's March 14 show had been cancelled, Pitchfork points out. The reason given is that the band name, alluding to the Viet Cong army that fought against the South Vietnamese government and the U.S. during the Vietnam War, could offend multiple communities. As such, talent "should absolutely not be booked at the expense of hurting, offending, or making uncomfortable the very students and general public."

"I would first and foremost like to apologize on both my and my booking organization's behalf for inviting a band with a name that deeply offends and hurts Vietnamese and Vietnamese-American communities, both in Oberlin and beyond," Krasnov wrote. "I acknowledge the problematic nature of a band naming themselves 'Viet Cong' and extend my apology to anyone hurt or made uncomfortable by the name and its connotations."

Krasnov's apology goes on to make note of student action and protests against the Vietnam War throughout the '60s and '70s. As such, he said "to allow a band called 'Viet Cong' to play a show and make money at Oberlin College would be in complete disregard of Oberlin's radical history and of the values it professes to uphold."

Krasnov also took issue with an interview with the band conducted last year wherein vocalist Matt Flegel explained, "That [name] comes from our drummer [Mike Wallace], and from us being teenagers and watching movies. The Viet Cong were always the bad asses in movies."

Krasnov wrote, "The fact that the band openly acknowledges their problematic name, yet fails to change it or do anything about it, highlights this blatantly appropriative move, reinforcing a tradition of American (and Western) orientalism and appropriation."

You'll find the full statement here.

Viet Cong have not yet publicly acknowledged the cancelled performance or the allegations from Oberlin College. You'll find an updated tour schedule down below.

Tour dates:

03/03 Portland, OR - Mississippi Studios
03/05 San Francisco, CA - Rickshaw Stop
03/06 Los Angeles, CA - Echo
03/07 San Diego, CA - Soda Bar
03/08 Phoenix, AZ - Valley Bar
03/11 Kansas City, MO - Record Bar
03/12 Minneapolis, MN - 7th Street Entry
03/14 Oberlin, OH - Dionysus Club at Oberlin College
03/24 Denver, CO - Larimer Lounge
03/25 Salt Lake City, UT - Kilby Court
03/27 Seattle, WA - Barboza   03/28 Vancouver, BC - Biltmore Cabaret
03/29 Victoria, BC - Upstairs Cabaret

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