The Philadelphia-based band Vacationer is chill. Real chill. It’s hard to describe the band as anything other than that. Although the band’s frontman Kenny Vasoli describes the band’s genre as “nu-hula,” or a “new wave of tropical music,” there is no denying that Vacationer’s sound is not the type of music most people can rock out to. Rather, Vacationer’s music is the type of music where you want to bob around, chill out and most importantly, enjoy life and love. Vasoli claims that “love is the most powerful muse” for him in his songwriting. This explains song names like “Great Love,” which was a crowd favorite at the band’s show Jan. 21.
Red Bull Sound Select is “an artist development program that delivers the best in new music.” It focuses on monthly shows and festivals with some of the best small bands available and this month they had the pleasure of welcoming Queen of Jeans and Weekender to open for the semi-popular Vacationer. The show was at Philadelphia’s The Foundry, an intimate live-venue that mostly serves for local showcases and rising stars. The Foundry is an extension of Philadelphia’s newest venue The Fillmore. Because of the Red Bulls’ artist development program, fans were able to catch this show for cheaper than a Septa ride: $3.
A $3 show is about as bare minimum as you can get. The stage was tiny, the band had few lighting effects, and Vacationer (and opening band Weekender) had to ask for several audio tweaks from the sound technicians. Still, the atmosphere made this feel like a house show in a local garage. It added to the magic of the show.
Having released just two albums, Vacationer must have played nearly every song they had in their inventory. Popular songs such as “This Wild Life,” “Trip,” “Shining” and “In The Grass” seemed to leave the audience breathless, where lesser known songs like “Onward and Upward,” “Fresh” and “Dreamlike” still had the audience smiling. The band almost played their song “Paradise Waiting,” which was featured in a Snapchat sent out by TeamSnaphat themselves to wish everyone a Happy Father’s Day.
“Good As New,” the show’s closing song, has over seven million plays on Spotify and is by far the band’s most popular track. It blends synth-generated string instruments, beautiful keyboard melodies and wonky percussion. Fans left the show smiling from ear to ear, but without hearing an encore, which comes as a surprise considering the “always do an encore” mentality of most bands these days. Regardless, Vacationer rocked the roof off of The Foundry and left fans with a night to remember (and a two-minute long Snapchat story to annoy their friends).
Each riff that came out of guitarist Greg Altman’s guitar blended beautifully with Michael Mullin’s keyboard licks. The band was foaming with passion and energy which was surprising considering the tiny atmosphere of the venue. A band like Vacationer is known for playing their shows at smaller, local venues; but it became clear that the band knew how to blow the roof off of venues like The Foundry. The entire show was a merger of chill vibes, body-shaking energy and most importantly, stellar music. Vacationer is absolutely a band to check out.