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Saturday, 29 March 2014 16:37

Concert review: Real Estate drifts through a sold-out night at the Firebird, Friday, March 28

Concert review: Real Estate drifts through a sold-out night at the Firebird, Friday, March 28 facebook.com/realestateband
Written by Blair Stiles
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Sometimes there just is not much to say about a show. Real Estate's sold out Firebird show last night sacrificed engaging musicality for mellow vibrations. The decision was not terrible. It all seemed like a mirage conjured up by the sands of a desert.

Last night, light rain showers dazzled drivers as raindrops refracted the red, green, yellow of a traffic light. Already misted in a warning from April, the audience was receptive to whatever elements would dance its way. The age brackets were 20 years apart. Patrons appeared 20-something or 40-something with a 70/30 split. Most were accompanied by friends. A father-son duo was spotted.

Coming off "Atlas," the band's third release, the band was in good spirits. Bassist Alex Bleeker mouthed off several times. Once to castigate anyone who did not believe New Jersey (the band's home) was the greatest state in our maligned nation. Another time he and bandmates discussed who was in Pure X (the night's opening band) and who from the band had beards. Bleeker championed Texas next, then Real Estate played "Horizon" off the aforementioned "Atlas."

The mirage appeared early into the band's set. Between its opening song, "Had to Hear" and "Dunes" there was a brief pause wherein the band tweaked its instruments for the next number. The crowd shook its shoulders out, and the band began "Dunes." Except, it sounded just like "Had to Hear" but was not "Had to Hear." In fact it was a song not released on the new record but one just created by the band. When Real Estate finished "Dune," overheard was, "Damn. They should play that song again." When the band kicked back with "Primitive," the same person joshed, "Well, they are." Without the help of song titles, each song began and ended in a monochromatic fashion that gave the set one cohesive sonic theme: that some songs just sounded too much alike and created a swampy, groggy atmosphere. Of course, "It's Real" was discernable. The crowd sang with Martin Courtney during the chorus. It was the most energy the crowd exhibited that night.

As a live show, Real Estate creates a sound better suited for a spot like Melt, or (what was) Mushmaus, where sitting on pillows to watch a show is probably permissible. The band's live laconic sound is burdened by the album's sleepy sonic ethics. Although, dreamy, and aurally appealing, Real Estate lacked the energy to keep the crowd fully engaged. Although, I wouldn't doubt the band would claim indifference to such a chill, conversation-friendly environment. Even as the crowd chatted, the band played well into the hour and half mark without any desperate calls for attention. They played music, and we chilled out.

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