By Alexis Mclaughlin
The Rathskellar became a musical getaway on Friday, Feb. 8, as psychedelic pop group Vacationer entranced Rat-goers with tropical melodies, smooth vocals and a calmness unseen in most young artists rising to the top.
Headed by front man Kenny Vasoli, whose premiere band, The Starting Line, has gained a massive following in the Garden State, Vacationer promised for a memorable performance before even hitting the stage — and did not fail to deliver.
The group opened strong — or rather, softly — with their number “Good as New,” whose soulful bass, trickling piano and light, yet sonorous vocals set listeners at instant ease. Intense relaxation proved a constant theme throughout the show, as “chillness” seemed to be the band’s greatest strength and highest priority.
“Everybody can just, you know, chill whenever they want to,” Vasoli’s said to the audience.
“If you’re in class, just be like, ‘Settle down, Professor Know-It-All: I’m chillin.’”
The night grew even more mellow with “Gone,” a melancholy, yet soothing tune about lost love and the hope that it will be restored. From here, the audience was promised even more serenity.
“Things are about to get even chiller. Can you imagine?” Vasoli said, amazed by his own proposition. “We’re about to drop the chill hammer on you.”
The group delivered with “Be With You,” whose gentle, strumming guitar, soothing vocals and repetition of “typical” island noises transported the listeners to a tropical paradise.
Well-received by the crowd, this number is also a favorite of Vasoli’s, due to its emotional heaviness.
Vacationer came full circle with their closing number, “Everyone Knows,” which channels the R&B feel of “Good as New.” While a bit more somber than the latter, the number’s lovely opening piano score and clean vocals held true to the “chill” form, bringing their set to a satisfying end.
“It was, in Kenny’s words, definitely ‘chill,’” said junior history major Shannon Kane. “It was a perfect relief to academic stress.”