Tucson fans take a trip with Australian indie band Vacations

The crowd was asked to get energetic while a disco ball from the ceiling gleamed around the room as Vacations, an indie/alternative band from Newcastle, Australia, performed for the sold-out crowd at Club Congress on April 12.

It was the band’s second to last date of their US tour and they left the crowd with laughter and a feeling of belonging.

The Kansas City, Missouri band Dreamgirl kicked things off, playing dream pop songs with infectious melodies. Lead singer Lacey Hopkins captivated the audience with her soft, dainty vocals. The highlight of the set was when they performed the song “Teenage Blue.” It had an emotional element that got the crowd swaying along to the heartbreaking story of how painful it is to love someone.

Vacations came on stage as a tune reminiscent of a church choir hymn played and the crowd was packed into the small Club Congress space, shoulder to shoulder with little wiggle room.

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Vacations was promoting their 2020 album Forever in Bloom, a personal journey with references to nature and reflections into one’s life through relationships and the struggles of finding yourself. The project has Vacations’ classic lo-fi “Woozy” alternative pop sound, but a different attitude from earlier projects such as songs “Vibes” and “Days.”

Lead singer Campbell Burns spoke about the band’s hopes for the night.

“We are finally able to play songs off of Forever in Bloom, which came out during the pandemic, in which it all started to kick off,” Burns said. “We went into our own separate personal lives to focus on ourselves in the last two years.”

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Since the new album’s release, the band saw a rise of their song “Young,” which was released six years ago. Their newfound popularity has led to what Burns called a “strange” transitional period. The song has been certified gold in America, selling 500,000 units.

“We gain all these new fans, are able to do a US tour and do so many more things to a higher degree, which is exciting,” Burns said.

Throughout the April 12 concert, Vacations’ band members joked with the audience, pointing out one person who was taking pictures on a Nintendo DS. Band member Nate Delizzotti obliged one fan’s offer to wear his glasses, which he dubbed “X-ray Specs.”

The band also made fun of the American income tax season and the audience laughed along, shouting a few jokes of their own into the mix.

Vacations performed old and new songs including “Home,” “Actors,” “Avalanche,” “Time Crisis” and “Young” as the crowd sang along.

In the middle of the show, the band asked for the house lights to be dimmed as they slowed things down. The audience took the cue and turned on cell phone flashlights, which twinkled like candles against the darkened room.

Towards the end of the show, the band encouraged everyone to get together to take a group photo, which felt a little like a group of old friends reuniting as the audience squeezed together.

Later in the show, Tucson high school student Alonso Sandoval got his wish to play guitar with the band. He had been holding up a white sign from where he was standing in the back of the club asking if he could join the band for “Relax,” and when they got to the song, they pulled Sandoval onstage with them as the crowd cheered the young fan on.

“I was very nervous at the beginning while getting on stage, but they gave me the guitar and [I] got out of my mind and did it,” Sandoval said. “The band also made me feel comfortable on stage, which helped.”

After the show, Vacations stuck around to sign posters and meet fans including Tyler Johnson, who gave the show a 10 out of 10 rating.

“This was the most fun I’ve ever had at a concert,” Johnson said.

Vacations ended its US tour with a show in Phoenix on April 13.


*El Inde Arizona is a news service of the University of Arizona School of Journalism.


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