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Real Estate simply kick off U.S. tour at Noise Pop Fest

Real-EstatePhotos by Sterling Munksgard // Written by Mike Frash //

Noise Pop 2014
Real Estate with The Shilohs & Dream Boys //
The Independent – San Francisco
February 28th, 2014 //

Real Estate played to a solemn, respectfully immersed Independent Friday for their first full show of their North American tour. Sure the indie-rockers played their yet-to-be released record Atlas in its entirety near their home turf in New York Thursday, but they chose Noise Pop Fest to debut their very square stage setup.

The symmetrical grid of squares backing Real Estate’s new live show offers a simple yet effective merging of content & form — the shape is a plane figure, with equal straight sides and angles. Acting as a blank canvas to absorb lighting, the new background suitably reflects Real Estate’s new sound. There isn’t much that’s hidden. There’s little read-between-the-lines meaning, especially with the tracks from Atlas.

The new songs are distinctively more grown up in comparison to the carefree cuts from Days, though their jangly, daytime-chill tone persists. Single “Talking Backwards” already feels uuber-familiar in it’s catchiness and clarity, and it’s a song that fits well into Real Estate’s collection of music. “The Bend” drifts and sways, and it caressed a bit of head-nodding from the sedated feel in the room.

A false start toward the end of the set slowed things down for a moment, but the group is just gearing up and getting familiar with the new numbers live, so it was an easy transgression to forgive.

Real-Estate2

For the encore, frontman Martin Courtney plainly stated, “Let’s leave it all out on the dance floor” after keeping the banter to a minimum on the night. Quite the ironic statement for a band that stirs an audience as much as at an orchestral symphony — not a person wiggled amongst the packed house, save for the house servers.

Although, “All The Same” capped the show with an incredible swirling psych-jam that could shuffle some feet in a less stoned environment. The lights, for the first time, brought bright white clarity to the stage, reiterating the surface level takeaway. The blaring guitar reverb became dominant, which was actually very pleasurable in the vein of Kurt Vile or Wild Nothing, but it appeared to be unintentional, as Ducktails guitarist Matt Mondanile kept giving hand signals that he had lost control of the effect. Perhaps dabbling a bit more into psych-territory would elevate their live sound.

Are they a bunch of squares now that the guys have hit their 30’s? That’s doubtful — they’re still keeping it real.


The Shilohs & Dream Boys got things started Friday, and photographer extraordinaire Sterling Munksgard was there to capture all the snaps.

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