Until recently, I never went to concerts unless I knew most of the words to most of the songs. I thought if I couldn’t sing along and predict every tempo change I would feel left out or maybe even bored. But I am so glad I decided to get over that hesitation, because it led to me seeing No Vacation. I vaguely knew their most popular song, Yam Yam, but I wasn’t expecting anything crazy from their bedroom pop sound, and I definitely didn’t expect to see one of the best concerts of my life.
I’ve seen the Arctic Monkeys, the Avett Brothers, Alt- J, and many more of my favorite bands, so why did this small, unassuming band I didn’t even know blow me away? I mean, there’s definitely something to be said for low expectations, but to me, No Vacation captured something I think we all want to feel when we go to those small, intimate concerts: connection.
And this wasn’t only achieved by the headliner, but the opener as well. Okey Dokey, a psych soul band from Nashville, interacted with the audience in a very unique way. During one of their songs, the lead singer grabbed a wig they had been tossing around on stage and placed it on the end of the mic stand. He then extended it into the audience, offering the accessory to someone. After the wig was removed, he swayed with the stand as the audience held the base. Albeit it a somewhat awkward sight to see, it was refreshing and much more personal than chucking something into the crowd.
No Vacation also made several attempts to connect with the audience, something that seems to be lacking in a lot of shows nowadays. Nat (keyboardist) and Sab (lead vocalist) both on separate occasions jumped into the audience to dance with the crowd and hype everyone up. They also encouraged everyone to “bop” to several of their songs and would jump and dance as an example. After one of these enthusiastic commands, the crowd responded with such vigor the concrete floor felt like it was shaking beneath me. A lot of the show was like a spirited, musical game of Simon Says, and it made a mob of strangers feel more united and excited. This bridging of the gap between performer and audience resulted in one of the most enjoyable shows I’ve ever seen.
You might not expect it from listening to their soothing tracks, but if you ever get a chance to see them live, these energetic artists will definitely surprise you.