People On Vacation Live At Dingwalls, Camden Town, London, 5th March

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Ryan Hamilton live on stage at Dingwalls (photo one)

Words by Matt Hill, photos by Rachael Griffiths.

People On Vacation are by my own admission not my usual listening, ones own mp3 collection being far more likely to be blasting Behemoth, Arcturus or Megadeth to name but a few. With that being said, with a Thursday evening in the company of “The Jim” and other friends and hopefully good music on offer, I was easily persuaded.

The opening act was Danny Gruff, at first look your bog standard singer / songwriter type. However unlike the plethora of deathly boring and rubbish acts around of this nature at the moment, Mr Gruff can entertain very well as well as being an accomplished musician. With songs of various everyday topics (“Wikipedia” being a highlight) engaging the growing crowd and getting maximum audience participation, this was a most welcome surprise. Not bad, not bad at all.

Main support for the evening was Lacey, a Nottingham pop punk band. While they were quite popular with the audience, try as I might I just could not enjoy them. While there was nothing “wrong” about them, there was nothing special about them either! It was for lack of a better expression very bland. There are dozens of bands around doing the same type of thing and a good deal of them who are doing it better.

People On Vacation were quite the different proposition. With as much focus on the between song comedy stylings of Ryan Hamilton and Jaret Reddick (more commonly known to the world from Bowling For Soup) as the music itself, there was much to be enjoyed, even for those who were not hugely familiar with People On Vacation’s material. None of it was forced either, with the kind of banter that comes from genuine friendship that had me imagining what horrific and hilarious stories could be told were it myself and one from any number of friends up on the stage.

Returning to the music, People On Vacation are very good at what they do. There is an infectious, “make you nod your head and tap your foot” quality to the music, particularly the big songs such as “You May Not Believe In God” and “Don’t Ask The Question”. There was an almost inevitable Bowling For Soup cover (“The Bitch Song”) which was very well executed as was the encore of Slade’s “Cum On Feel The Noise”. With a beer (or cider) in hand, friends around you and People On Vacation on a stage, they are a “good times” band. They may not ever replace the classic thrash or black metal in the world of Matt, but there’s definitely a place for them. Expectations thoroughly exceeded.

Check out an exclusive photo gallery from the show below:

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