Kenny Vasoli wants to break a curse that his band Vacationer apparently has with Dallas. He has nothing bad to say about the town itself, but previous shows here have resulted in some rather strange occurrences.
At one show, two women got into a fist fight. At another one, Vasoli was quite sick. And there was a time when he heard taunts from a rampant heckler. As Vacationer tours in support of their new (and sublime) Mindset, he hopes for a pain-free night.
“I’m really out for redemption with our Dallas show,” Vasoli says while waiting on food a few hours before their show in Seattle. “This one should be smooth sailing because we’ve earned so much good karma in Dallas for a good one.”
Hailing from the Philadelphia area, Vasoli started Vacationer in 2010 and made it a full live band the following year. But when it started, he wanted a fresh start after fronting the pop-punk band the Starting Line for a number of years. Though his old band had some flirtation with mainstream exposure, he had the freedom to successfully have a musical restart. He was successful to the point where he was able to be known as Kenny from Vacationer after a few years of praises from blogs and other online publications.
“When I started Vacationer, I just really didn’t lead with that foot,” Vasoli says. “To be honest I didn’t even put my name in the first record because I didn’t want there to be pictures of my face from the very beginning. I just wanted people to ... find their own opinion about it without knowing what I’ve been up to in the past.”
Making a sound with drum machines, samples and vibraphone, they put out their debut, Gone, in 2012. Relief followed in 2014 and Mindset came out earlier in the summer. The live band of guitarist Greg Altman, keyboardist Michael Mullin and drummer Ryan Zimmaro was inspired by Tame Impala, Tortoise and LCD Soundsystem. In turn, Vacationer’s sound is full of vibrant melodies set to steady beats. There’s no trace of his past in the sound.
“I just started making this music with people that didn’t really know who Starting Line was,” Vasoli says.
Though Vasoli started the project solo, he was talked out of touring without a backing band. He doesn’t think it would be right to do Vacationer that way. Having a live band fleshes out the sounds he made in the studio.
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“It has its place,” Vasoli says of one-person shows. “I know it seems like a very engaging live show, and it’s not. It’s used for production at best. I still invite guys with laptops to open up these because sometimes these guys are doing incredible things with this. Especially being so inspired by sample-based music, some of these guys are able to pull off straight-up masterpieces with just a laptop and some samples.”
He raises a good point about solo projects masquerading as a band.
“I like a little bit more going onstage than that," he says, "especially if you’re gonna call yourself a band.”
Vacationer and Sego play Thursday, Aug. 9 at Club Dada. Tickets are $15.