Live review: Vacations at Band on the Wall
Vacations are an indie-pop quartet based in Newcastle, Australia. I was lucky enough to see them perform at Band on the Wall in the Northern Quarter on Monday night, as part of their sold-out UK and Ireland tour. Band On The Wall appeared to be the perfect venue for Vacations, as it allowed for their music to be played in an intimate setting, which I believe is how it is intended to be heard. The crowd were able to come right up to the stage, but there was also the option of the sofas and chairs that provided a more relaxed viewing of the concert from up on the balconies. Overall, the band had a light, sunny sound that gave off a welcoming atmosphere in the venue.
It’s clear how even on the opposite side of the planet, Vacations are much-loved and have a large, devoted following. The Manchester crowd went into a frenzy when they took the stage and seemed to know the words of every song the band performed thereafter. After opening with the song ‘Moving Out’ from their 2018 album Changes, the band went on to play music from across their collection of releases, from their first EP Days to their latest album Forever In Bloom.
The woozy guitars made for a great blend of indie rock, jazz and shoegaze, including a performance of their newly released single ‘Next Exit’, their first release since 2020. ‘Next Exit’ marks a compelling disparity: it is an upbeat, guitar-driven pop song, but with reflective and relatable lyrics that describe breaking a cycle of the mundane. This was an obvious highlight for the crowd and showed the enthusiasm that these guys can expect when releasing their next album.
For the encore at the show’s end, Vacations slowed things down and performed a torchlit and emotional rendition of one of their biggest hits, ‘Telephones’. The effortless ways that Vacations were able to pull off flawless performances of each of their songs showed the levels to which they have gone to perfect their craft. Throughout the show, the band were able to build a rapport with the audience, the main topic of their conversation being the differences between the UK and Australia. This band clearly aren’t one to take themselves too seriously, from their comical English accents to starting chants of “Yorkshire” at various points in the show.
Overall, the evening was very wholesome, comparable to a night you would have hanging out with friends. Even aside from the amazing musicianship, it was refreshing to see such a genuine and likeable band. The members all got involved with audience interaction and very much looked like they wanted to be there, so I would definitely recommend seeing Vacations if you can catch them the next time they’re in the UK.
You can stream ‘Next Exit’ below: