To say No Vacation’s gig on Saturday was intimate would be an understatement. Playing for a small crowd of dedicated fans and set in the basement of Broadcast, one of the cities smaller music venues, it felt as though we’d been snuck in to see a private rehearsal than a gig. As the band urged the crowd to close the gap at the front of the stage, opting for zero space between musician and audience, they allowed their sound to envelop us completely into their hazy dream pop world rather than simply making us watch from the outside.
The band played crowd favorites “Yam Yam” and “Mind Fields” from their last EP Intermission which was released in 2017. Throughout each the crowd sang in unison with Sab Mai (vocals + guitar) whose voice is softly spoken smoky and melodic adding to the band’s dreamy beach sound. Other songs such as “You’re Not With Me” and “Reaper” showcased their ability to commandeer the sound of their individual instruments into one cohesive sound, creating such a balanced sound so that not one element overpowers another and seamlessly blends together. Members in the audience were in awe of synth instrumentalist Nat Lee’s musicianship. Muffled comments of excitement and admiration swept through the crowd as she switched between violin, keyboards, and at one point took control of Sab Mai’s guitar.
From new band members being added, a founder leaving, to the break up of the band altogether and them getting back together to create their last EP…it is safe to say that No Vacation has been through a lot of changes since its inception as a duo. However, one can argue that these changes in the composition of the band and the personal lives of its members has helped the music evolve. Although no singles have been published from their new EP Phasing which is to be released in September, they did play a few songs and gave us a taste of what is to come. What we heard was a more mature and polished version of their truly unique and original sound. We can only hope that the band is here to stay for good and continues to evolve.
Notes: Although no official date for the new album release has been announced, their first single “Estrangers” will be released Friday, August 30th.