Vacationer Trips Out at the Knit
No grouches allowed – show up at a Vacationer show with a scowl and leave with a grin. Despite an early afternoon Knitting Factory showtime (this was CMJ) and a short set marred by some technical glitches, the electro-soul band were impossible to resist. A purist would say that they ought to replace the tinny retro 80s synth patches with a Hammond organ (or a Nord Electro, which sounds just like one) and maybe get a conga player instead of all the percussion that was on the laptop under one of the synths. But then they’d be an oldschool soul band – and a good one, because they have the tunes – although they wouldn’t be nearly as trippy, which is what makes them different, and interesting. It doesn’t seem that they make music for sober people.
Both the drummer and keyboardist had syndrums, sometimes hitting a boomy “thud” on the beat, sometimes adding a weird spacy vibe to the mix. The keyboardist swung expertly between synth, organ patches, syndrum loops and also played smart, hypnotically echoey vibraphone on a couple of tracks against the loud, trebly, melodic bass and terse, jangly guitar low in the mix. The bassist sang with a laid-back soul falsetto, all the way through from their happy, backbeat-driven opener to the last tune, which mixed a warm post-Velvets pop ambience with a blithe calypso hook, the synths rising full blast as they took it out with a big rush of string textures. In between, there was another one that began totally retro 80s with a New Order-ish verse before the catchy, bouncy Motown chorus kicked in. They started one song with a doo-wop hook and then added chimy synth and vibes: it was like a laid-back Chin Chin tune without the vocoder or the horns. One song simply titled Trip put the trip in trip-hop, alternating swirling and chirpy textures over a hypnotically swaying groove. Say what you want about this band’s techy sound, but you can’t say they’re not original, or not fun, or a bad choice if you feel like smoking up beforehand.
Casiokids were scheduled to play afterward, but it’s a good bet that every trendoid Bushwick blogger was on his way and will have primitive phone video to prove it, so there was really no need to stick around. Google it tomorrow or beginning of the week and see what you missed.