Lunar Vacation Shapes the Indie Music Genre

By Keana Saberi, Reporter

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  • Hall Johnson energetically performs at Stubb's BBQ.

    Photo By Keana Saberi

  • Maggie Geeslin strums her guitar as violet and red lights backdrop her.

    Photo By Keana Saberi

  • Lead singer and guitarist Grace Repasky stands center stage and sings one of Lunar Vacation's most well known songs.

    Photo By Keana Saberi

  • Bassist John Michael Young passionately plays a long instrumental solo.

    Photo By Keana Saberi

  • The Slaps take the stage to play songs from their most recent albums.

    Photo By Keana Saberi

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At 9:30 p.m. on a Saturday night, the local Stubb’s BBQ could be expected to be filled with hungry customers. Rather, the Downtown business has closed its restaurant services for the night and opened its downstairs venue for live music. The air is thick with chatter, the lights dim, and on the center of the stage a set of guitars are sitting, ready to be played. 

Expectant fans of Lunar Vacation, a performing group set to hit the stage with their music, gather around for the performance. The show takes place at the local Texan Barbeque joint on July 13. The show is part of Lunar Vacation’s first U.S. Tour which commenced in the Spring of this year. Bands Hall Johnson and The Slaps are set to open for Lunar Vacation for a portion of their tour.

The band opening up for Lunar Vacation during the first part of their tour, Hall Johnson, is an indie/rock band from Dallas who are making themselves known with their rhythmic tunes. Milo Cortese, lead singer and guitarist plays a few snippets of songs as they all begin warming up their instruments. Cortese soon calls out to the crowd, “Hey everyone we are Hall Johnson!” They introduce themselves and their breezy manners give off the typical rocker musician vibe. They begin playing songs from their extended play (EP) album Day Trip which released in 2018. 

All their music gives off carefree vibes blended with the electrifying guitar solos which I  think are the best parts of their songs. Their tunes encapsulate youthful experiences and their lives as college students which whisk listeners into a world of eternally young, unacquainted with all the world still has to offer. Between playing their songs they laugh and the crowd roars back and it is no longer fans and a rocker band separately but musicians and individuals enjoying the music all together. Their spirit is what drew me in, wanting and needing to hear more. As they are leaving the stage, though fans pine for them to play more, they yell out over the rumble of the crowd. “ You guys ready for Lunar Vacation?” The crowd is invigorated with a pulse of excitement as Hall Johnson’s members leave the stage with goodbyes and final strums of the guitar and the last beats being played on the drums.

Next The Slaps, similarly an indie style band enters the stage. They begin jamming out, the drum solos played passionately by Josh Resing who broke his first set of drumsticks within the span of the first few songs. Their tunes are rock with a southern flair in a blend of music genres like I’ve never heard before. Their songs are complex with lyrical meaning and with that the  band gives a solid performance. When they are finished they leave the stage and make way as Lunar Vacation arrives.

Lunar Vacation is an alternative/indie band which has become immensely popular among teens and music enthusiasts alike since their start in 2016. Born from the group’s collective passion for music and boredom from their day to day high school lives, the group’s five members began their band in their hometown of Atlanta, Georgia. This youthful and musically driven group consists of five members: lead singer and guitarist Grace Repasky, guitarist Maggie Geeslin, bassist John Michael Young, keyboard player Matteo De Lurgio, and drummer Connor Dowd. Playing tunes that speak to the turbulent and complex nature of being a teen, their musical identity is something fans can often associate with. With Repasky’s dreamy, warm vocals and riffs from the guitar accompanied by the unique sound of the keys, their tone quality is a blend of ethereal and a more dynamic sound. 

When Young, bassist extraordinaire walked up on stage to fix the instruments, the crowd goes wild. After the other band members appear Repasky takes center stage. With a lighthearted introduction to crowd beaming with smiles on their faces, they begin playing their iconic songs from their albums Swell and Artificial Flavors, songs that I had loved ever since I heard them the first time. Swimming, The Basement, and Blue Honey are among three of their best known songs, songs that pull listeners into a trance, the sounds of their instruments lingering in the minds of many. Their smiles are friendly yet concentrated as they focus on playing their instruments. 

The beautiful vocals of Repasky blended with the rhythm of the bass and guitar, swirl into the most entrancing music. The genuine love for music they all exhibit is frankly a breath of fresh air. It’s eye opening, seeing a band so intune with their love for music, full of substance and bringing raw, awe inspiring talent to the table. It’s their passion which drives them, making fans adore their music, whispering every word, singing along. The spectacular ballads and lyrics created a soft bubble of music experience. Red and blue hues outline their figures on stage as they play.  

My ears were overflowing with sound, being only a few inches from the band members and the speakers. The air was sticky with the Texan heat and as the band concluded playing to the sadness of the fans, they apologized for having to say goodbye. Backstage, Lunar Vacation stopped to sell their own merchandise, taking pictures with fans and greeting them. This gave me an insight into how down to earth Lunar Vacation’s band members really are.

Through their warm nature and their overall musical strengths, Lunar Vacation is on its way to making it. This small local band is transforming, shaping the indie music genre, and they are only in college. It’s evident that their talent should be known and that it should soon emerge into the mainstream music scene.