This review won’t be as long as I want it to be simply because I really want to get it online before the DVD/CD is released on Friday 11th (which is… erm… tomorrow). As the title should tell you, it’s a live show and it was recorded some months ago when the band were opening for Bowling For Soup in the US (check out “Rikki”‘s drums in the footage…) before they headed to the UK to repeat the job.
The “Family Vacation” part of the title is really emphasised by the first person to appear on screen being little River. Before the live footage kicks in, we’re presented with a group hug involving mainstays Kelly and Luis along with all three of their drummers – again, emphasising the closeness of the band. I do like the odd break between tracks for a little bit of backstage natter, too. DVD only – these don’t feature on the CD!
Onto the main feature, though, and it’s a 40-ish minute blast through some great bubblegum pop/punk. The sound is great and the video a nice mix of footage. A stationary cam catches Rikki on the drums, a roving cameraman on stage gets some nice shots, there are a couple of distant cameras and there’s a bit of filming from someone who’s obviously in the crowd near the front, which is a nice touch.
As for the set, it’s a good one. Thankfully, unlike at Glasgow recently, there are no technical issues… Kelly’s bass is her own, not a borrowed one that breaks halfway through the third song! The sound mix is good enough that you can hear that bass along with Luis guitars and backing vocals. The leads are perfect, though, with Kelly’s breathy tones as clear as they are on any studio album they’ve done.
It’s a cracking 11-song set, including most of the live favourites. Prime picks are “Brand New Key”, “Get Weird” (see it below), “Jackie Chan” and “Because I’m Awesome” but the whole thing’s just wonderful fun. I’d assume due to it being a support slot and the band wanting to make the most of their time, there’s little wasted on audience chatter so you do get your value for money music-wise.
In addition to the main film, there’s almost an hour of bonus tour footage and a commentary track, plus an 18-page booklet. Our review copy didn’t come with the extras so I can’t pass comment on them, but knowing the band they’ll certainly be entertaining.
If you’re already a fan or the video below sways you, the package is available to pre-order on their Bandcamp page (where you can listen to “Come And Get It” and “My Best Friend’s Hot”). They’re lovely people, too! They actually deserve your money!