Michigan's the Outer Vibe Brings Its Never-Ending Vacation Tunes to the Dive Bar

Though they they hail from Grand Rapids, Michigan, their music is pure sunshine. 

“We like warm weather, piña coladas, film photography, vintage-inspired fashion, and 1970s Volkswagen buses,” says the Outer Vibe singer, trumpet player, and keyboardist Lisa Kacos. “We’re one of those ‘you gotta see 'em live’ bands where every show is different and spontaneous, similar to the ethos of the Grateful Dead.”

A listen to either of the group’s two albums to date — 2015’s Full Circle or their 2012 debut, Hoka Hey — hammers the point home. The Outer Vibe name-drops the usual influences: the Beatles, the Stones, Paul Simon, and more current combos, like Alabama Shakes and Foster the People. But its sound is its own, punctuated by brassy embellishment, upbeat vocals, and perky rhythms that promise to not only get the party started but to sustain it. And while it doesn't shy away from the occasional downbeat ballad, that doesn't do much to damper the festivities.
“We’re inspired by our travels and love, making new friends in every town,” Kacos says, highlighting the band's serendipitous approach. Following the release of Full Circle, the band — Kacos, singer/bassist Andrew Dornoff, singer/guitarist Nick Hosford, singer/drummer Noah Snyder, and lead vocalist/guitarist Sean Zuidgeest — embarked on a national tour that has brought the up-and-comers a flood of airplay, a sizeable in-store presence, and a legion of new devotees.

Producer Brad Dollar, known for his work with the Grateful Dead, Keb' Mo', and the National, summed up the sentiments succinctly when he wrote, “When I listen to the latest batch of the Outer Vibe productions, I feel like I’m on a vacation I don’t want to end. The guitars feel like a Cheshire smile of a sunny beach, the drums beat like perfect waves on the share. Everything stays glued together with sticky-sweet vocals, trumpets sounding from the west, and bass sounds that walked down from another planet — all at the same moment providing reflection and rejoice.”

As SoFlo residents, we're all too familiar with that particular party vibe. The Outer Vibe may have a point to prove. Reason enough for us to witness its audition.

The Outer Vibe
9:30 p.m. Saturday, April 2, at the Dive Bar, 3233 N. Ocean Blvd., Fort Lauderdale. Call 954-565-9264.
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Lee Zimmerman