Concert Preview

The Return of Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band at Neumos

After a tough year, the Seattle indie quartet comes back refreshed.

By Seth Sommerfeld April 3, 2012

Now down to four members, Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band look to forge a new sonic path.

It’s time to test the theory that absence makes the heart grow fonder. Thursday night at Neumos marks the return of two noted Seattle-based indie bands that have been on extended hiatuses—Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band and Throw Me the Statue. It’ll be MSHVB’s first real Seattle show since opening up for Dismemberment Plan in February of 2011. But there are good reasons for the band’s absence.

“We had a really difficult year after our last tour,” says front man Benjamin Verdoes. “We’d just been touring so much for the past couple years, and there was certainly a level of disappointment as far as being able to sustain it, and a little bit of disillusionment…or maybe a lot of it.”

Difficult is an understatement. After finishing up the last tour Benjamin and his wife (and former MSHVB member) Traci Egglestron split. Soon after, the mother of Benjamin and MSHVB drummer Marshall Verdoes passed away. Then bassist Jared Price’s grandmother died.

Overwhelmed, the band decided to take some time apart. Considering the band hadn’t taken time off since forming in 2008, it was the right call. Benjamin spent the summer living in San Francisco and Marshall traveled to South Korea.

While in San Francisco, Verdoes began working on material for the band’s new record, Prehistory; an EP that will be released digitally this spring. The band recorded most of the album live at a former church in Annacortes in an attempt to strip back some of the sonic layers. While there are still a few MSHVB calling cards on the record (such as guitarmonies), the band sees this as a transition record. The new tunes aren’t as manic or frantic and the lyrics are more reflective and personal than the character-based songs found on the band’s previous records. Evidence of these changes can be found on the mellow and slow-burning “Warm Body,” a track from the EP that MSHVB released last week.

Having hit the reset button, Verdoes is excited to get back on stage and move MSHVB into their next phase.

“I guess we don’t really have the same perceptions of ourselves anymore,” says Verdoes. “I think we’re always trying to move forward and I think having a break for the first time helped us extricate ourselves from that continuous motion that we’d been a part of since we started. I think that now we can look at our past and ourselves more objectively.”

Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band
With Throw Me the Statue, Cataldo
Apr 5 @ 8pm, Neumos, $10

Filed under
Show Comments