I first saw People on Vacation at Hit The Deck 2014. Their marriage of comedy and pop-punk/Americana won me over straight away. Ironically, Lacey, their Notts-based support band, also played Hit The Deck on that very same stage at The Forum in Nottingham. Fate then, it would seem, has thrown them back together, and Lacey are just too good not to mention.
Date: March 1, 2015
Whilst this is officially a People on Vacation gig, a lot of tonight’s audience aren’t actually here for the main act. That’s because Nottingham’s next great white hope Lacey are POV’s support band.
Lacey are Nottingham’s pioneers of impassioned rock, with an arsenal of powerful riffs and a gargantuan sound. But what sets them apart from other similar bands in their genre is the fact that they have tunes – adroit, dexterous tunes that stick in your head.
They may be just the support band, but practically half of tonight’s crowd is their own; they own this audience, and are partly the reason the Bodega is rammed.
Beginning with new single Tonight, they tear through a set that sounds like Panic! At The Disco and Fall Out Boy if they had soft Midlands accents. That comparison actually does them a disservice; they’re better than that.
Hometown is a homage to Nottingham, a city who have taken the band to its collective heart. The crowd sing back the mantras on Contender and set closer Burnout, each an anthemic slab of emotive rock. A mid-set version of Jimmy Eat World’s Classic The Middle isn’t even the highlight. That’s how good this band are right now.
Tales of guitargasms (don’t ask), appreciative nods to the city and their adoring fans…Lacey came and conquered. No mean fete for a support act!
So onto the main course. You’ve heard of Ryan Hamilton of Smile Smile, right? No? What about Jarret Reddick? Still nothing? Ok, Jarret Reddick of Bowling for Soup? Right, now we’re getting somewhere.
People on Vacation, or POV as they’re better known, came about when those two bands became bezzies on a tour in 2010. Since then, they’ve churned out a sound which ranges from Green Day’s more solumn moments to Weezer, with a side of Americana-punk, whatever that is.
Bowling for Soup’s dumb-rock schtick may have been diluted somewhat, but there’s no shortage of japery and banter between the two lead men of POV. In fact, although they have a plethora of excellent songs, their mid-song banter is kind of the main entertainment.
They bounce off one another, with witty takes on British vernacular and the confusion it presents stateside. Ryan’s bewilderment with faggots on a lunchtime menu is comedy gold, giving what that particular word is slang for in the US, and his grapple with the English version of the term ‘fanny’ meaning front bottom rather than backside is dumbass fun.
In fact, most of their output is stoopid humour. But you’d have to be a total prude to not find it hilarious.
Reddick is like an unkept Chris Moyles, spiky of hair, slightly rounded in figure, while Hamilton is a cooler, slicker version of actor Alan Cumming. The other two members? Mercenaries; “Too handsome for the promo shots”, declares Reddick.
They meander through choice cuts from their two albums, starting with the insanely catchy Prettiest Girl In The World, and featuring their “only real hit”, You May Not Believe In God, a happy-clappy, almost anti-Christian Rock Christian Rock song.
But it’s their inherent comedic bent which wins tonight. On their maladjusted cover of Pink’s Blow Me (One Last Kiss), they employ Stacey, a crowd member, to hold up the lyrics because they “drink too much to remember”.
As Stacey takes the stage Reddick quips with a rapier-sharp wit: “I once got credited for a song about your mum. Incorrectly, I might add”, to much hilarity. It’s in reference to The Fountain of Wayne’s song Stacey’s Mum, which Bowling For Soup covered.
Talking of Bowling for Soup, their fans are treated to The Bitch Song, before an encore which unearths another cover version, as Slade’s classic Cum on Feel The Noize is given the pop-punk treatment, although without a lyrical prompt this time.
The songs are superb. But it’s the fun element of POV – although very risqué – which is the winning formula tonight.