What follows is an account of a concert that has a general haze over the details, thanks to some of the best whiskey sours I’ve ever drank, at a bar before the show. Unfortunately, I never took note of the bar’s name.
Vacationer can be described as psychedelic pop, or heady vibe-music, but I believe they’ve been best depicted in their very own words as, “relaxation specialists.” Their music gently ebbs and flows while front-man Kenny Vasoli sings uplifting and calming lyrics that seem to carry your thoughts away to a quiet beach or swinging hammock.
Vacationer is touring on their new album, “Mindset,” after close to a four-year hiatus. It was during those four years that I was introduced to the band by two friends of mine; a couple who were kind enough to drive me to the concert so that I could responsibly enjoy some whiskey sours, and other things Williamsburg had to offer.
Two other friends joined us. One was excited to revisit the work of Kenny Vasoli, now that he graduated from his pop-punk days in The Starting Line.
We arrived at the Music Hall of Williamsburg in the midst of the first opener. Malik Abdul-Ramaan, a solo DJ, was making the few people in an otherwise empty hall bob their heads melodically. My friends and I joined in, but one friend began to tap my shoulder repeatedly. After I realized she wasn’t doing a shoulder-tapping-dance-move I asked what was up.
“That’s him!” she said. “He’s right next to us!”
I thought she may have drank too much at the bar with that name that escapes me, but when I turned my head I saw Kenny Vasoli watching Abdul-Ramaan’s set. He bobbed his head like the rest of us.
To say that Vasoli was “mixing in with the crowd of his fans” would be inaccurate, because the hall was still scarce for people. He was grooving to the opener’s set for his own enjoyment before the bulk of Vacationer fans came and crowded him to talk. Instead, he only had to deal with me, and my friends, trying to yell compliments about his music into his ear mid-song.
Vasoli and his band-mates ducked backstage before the final opener, and my group took the opportunity to grab drinks from the bar on the level below us. At first it seemed like the Music Hall of Williamsburg hadn’t changed a bit since the last time I visited, over a year ago. It was brought to my attention however that there was one change, one that hit directly to the heart; drink prices had gone up.
We were back upstairs with fresh drinks in time for Sego, who announced that they were from Los Angeles. When they began playing, my group was captivated by their synergy. Let me tell you friends, there is nothing more exhilarating than going to see a band, but falling in love with the opener. My group and I agreed we had struck gold, yet I’m not sure why I haven’t explored their studio-work yet.
By the time Sego left the stage I’d forgotten our original reason for being in Williamsburg for a short time. Imagine my pleasant surprise when I remembered Vacationer was still in store, and up next.
The album cover to “Mindset,” was draped behind Vasoli and his band. At the start of their opener “Entrance,” Vasoli raised his hand in the air and began to bob at the dream-like tones and beats that followed. They followed up with old hits like, “Paradise Waiting,” and “Trip,” and their primary new single, “Magnetism.” During these, Vasoli showcased his dancing-chops; moving back and forth across the stage with his bass.
During Vacationer’s set it dawned on me; that their music is more than an easy go-to selection for successful beach vibes, but the natural progression of a person who has made his living crafting music in multiple different settings for the enjoyment of others.
With only a few songs left Vasoli disclosed that Vacationer would not be playing an encore.
“We’re just going to play all of the songs we would play,” he said. “I don’t understand why bands do that, leave when they know they’re just going to come back out.”
Vasoli sent out his love over and over before finishing the set.
When we left the music hall to walk back to our car, it started to rain heavily. While the ride home is mostly a blur, I do remember looking through the rainy window at the Williamsburg apartments, where the rent could make knees shake. The night ended with a feeling of peace and euphoria that is described in so many Vacationer songs, ones that they’ll be performing in a city near you on the rest of their Mindset tour.
Featured Image: Instagram (@Vacationing)