Vacationer at Neumos

This past weekend was a huge one for music in Seattle. Between The Tractor Tavern, The Showbox, and Neumos, the possible shows one could go to were incredible. I had an impossible time deciding where I’d spend my Saturday night, but I can say without an ounce of doubt that I made the best choice possible by picking Neumos and catching Hotels, Vacationer, and headliner The Asteroid Galaxy Tour. It was, from the first chord Hotels played, the best show I’ve seen in recent memory.

Hotels is a local band, and if you haven’t heard of them I suggest you give a listen. A perfect opening act for AGT, they were fun and upbeat with a retro sound and look. With a sound that comes across as new wave cool with a bit of 50s nostalgia thrown in for good measure, they donned button up shirts and slacks and played music that got the crowd dancing. When their guitarist broke a string halfway through the set they recovered with a vengeance, showing the audience how great an opening act can be. I haven’t been impressed with the openers I’ve seen as of late and usually can’t wait for their sets to be over, but Hotels made all that change. I can’t wait to check them out on April 27th at the Columbia City Theater for their EP release. Check them out and then buy tickets, they put on a great show.

You don’t often see a band that concerns itself with ambiance. Sure, all bands know lighting is undoubtedly important but that’s usually as far as it goes. That is not the case for Vacationer, who makes sure they set the mood not only through their dreamy music but gives the audience’s eyes a treat as well. Backed by a projector playing a medley of videos from the 50s, palm trees and hula dancers sway in the same way that the audience swayed as soon as Vacationer played their first song. In a word, these guys are incredible. They chill out the sound of bands like Foster the People and then make it all their own. And don’t get me started on their drummer – he did things to that kit that I’ve never seen done before, making use of every surface, and at times stole the show.

It’s safe to assume that when a band loves the music they’re making, it’s evident based on how much fun they look like they’re having on stage. In the case of Vacationer, the smile plastered on the face of their lead singer gave it all away. That smile was contagious, I couldn’t wipe the grin on my face off during their set even if I’d tried. They play music that just makes you happy, in the same way a great vacation does. With a sound like the Beach Boys mixed with Friendly Fires, Vacationer is accessible to every generation while still hipster enough to be considered cool. With a full album out in March, I think it’s safe to say that this band is going to be doing big things in the very near future. And if I can be so forward, I think there’s a very good chance they’ll end up being one of the best acts of 2012.

When it was time for The Asteroid Galaxy Tour to start their set, I’d be lying if I said I was surprised when lead singer Mette Lindberg took the stage dressed in head to toe glitter. And as incredible as she looked, like Barbarella dosed in electricity, she sounded even better. If you’re familar at all the AGT, you know what kind of music they perform and you can probably assume what the show was like. Electro-pop at it’s finest, this band turned Neumos into one hell of a dance party. Lindberg’s stage presence is intoxicating, and her band is just as dynamic as she is. When they played their latest single, ‘Heart Attack,’ the crowd went absolutely nuts and I don’t think I’ve seen a crowd at Neumos dance as much as everyone did Saturday night.

Great shows are rare, especially when it’s a great show from start to finish. In the case of Saturday night at Neumos, if you weren’t there you should kick yourself. But after you’re done with that, make sure you check out each of these acts the next time they’re in Seattle. Wear your dancing shoes and expect to be ridiculously impressed, take my word for it.

Culture Review: The Asteroid Galaxy Tour, Vacationer, and Hotels at Neumos