Meet The Vliets, a Dallas-Affiliated Band That Calls The Internet Their Hometown

Categories: Last Night

vliets-photo.jpg
From the God's Drug EP cover. Buy it here.
The Vliets (Pronounced Vleets) describe themselves as 'experimental rock' , which seems an accurate enough description if you're a fan of understatement. If their name offers any indication, it's an homage to Don Van Vliet, the experimental musician better known as Captain Beefheart, a longtime collaborator of Frank Zappa's.

Lead singer Ty Bohrnstedt's lyrics are soft and deliberately indecipherable, the melodies wavering and psychedelic, creating both a throwback and ultra modern sound, at times sunny and reminiscent of the Velvet Underground, and at times as climactic as Arcade Fire. Unlike all other groups who have beat the trend of post-modern rock to death, The Vliets use synthesizers, impressive pre-recorded electronic beats and focused and reliable, perhaps even monotonous, drums.

The Vliets are an undoubtedly indie band, yet they've amassed a comfortably sized cult-like following. On Friday, they played at the Double Wide to a distracted, hipster crowd. Except for the required Julian Casablancas-type haircut that their shy singer hides behind, the band has an unaffected, nerdy college-student look, and one of the members appears to still be wearing his backpack as he steps onto the stage. They used to have a spaceship as part of their stage design, but it is sadly not present for this show. Instead, there are old black-and white movie scenes projected onto the background, among what looks like old karate-instruction videos and random Dada-esque references, immediately setting the tone for a very artful experience.

The first three songs are mellow and gorgeously emotive, with singer Bohrnstedt seamlessly alternating between keyboards and guitar. By the fourth song the mood of the songs changes into a Californian, '60s flower-child vibe with a display of near virtuosity as Bohrnstedt plays a spirited guitar solo and bassist Adham El-Effendi switches his bass for a tambourine. The contrast between the amateurish appearance of the band and the sound of innovative and seasoned musicians is almost transcendent.

Although it feels impossible to stand still, the perhaps tragically paralyzed crowd remains nearly immobile except for one gentleman in suspenders spastically twerking at the front and another attempting to do the robot. Nearly everyone responds to the music by keeping their eyes closed.

Bohrnstedt takes the time after the show to chat and answer a few questions. He lists Baby O, Beck, Air, The Books, and guitarist John Frusciante as some of their influences. Had you been at the show you'd accept that answer as perfectly natural.


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3 comments
StephenKetner
StephenKetner

@more_boring_shit

Wow really? Critiquing a critic? I mean how meta can you get? I bet you jerk off to Duck Dynasty reruns as a hobby while listening to audio books read by Ben Stein.

I'm a full time musician and I know people that work for the Observer. They've never so much as mentioned me in any of their writing. Something to do with ethics and conflict of interest I imagine. Guess that means I suck (which I do), or there are holes the size of your mom's anus--after being DP'd by the pool boy and your neighbor while your dad was napping after his favorite college football team lost--in that theory. Not sure which is the truth, but lean I towards the latter.

Maybe with all your great insider knowledge you could let me know where some good music is in this city, since you seem to know where the non-boring music is played. Maybe post us a link to your awesome non-existent band that no one's ever heard of, or a date and time to your next awesome non-performance at a non-venue that no one that exists will be attending. I might even be so motivated to download your non-album off iTunes afterwards. I love giving my money to non-artists with uninformed opinions about local culture!

You could even one up us all and send us a link to your awesome Dallas Music and Art magazine that doesn't exist so we can write snarky comments on your masterfully written reviews of the music and art the REAL people of Dallas don't care about, huh??

Please??!!

Thanks, not looking forward to it

Hit me up anytime and I'll invite you to a gig of mine so you can tell me how much I suck.

more_boring_shit
more_boring_shit

"The Vliets are an undoubtedly indie band, yet they've amassed a comfortably sized cult-like following. On Friday, they played at the Double Wide to a distracted, hipster crowd"

no, they're just boring as fuck. 

"Unlike all other groups who have beat the trend of post-modern rock to death, The Vliets use synthesizers, impressive pre-recorded electronic beats and focused and reliable, perhaps even monotonous, drums."


more proof that the Dallas Observer is a bunch of kids writing about their friends. 

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