Monday night I was lucky enough to score a ticket to the first of three sold-out nights with New York-based Real Estate. When I say sold-out, I mean ass-to-crotch all the way to the exit. I hadn’t seen a show this packed at the Chapel since Dave Chappell did a pop-up comedy show a few years back.
Smoldering with body heat, the venue provided the perfect backdrop for some chill music. Dream pop, indie rock veterans Real Estate didn’t disappoint playing tracks from all their albums, and even a couple new songs. The group has done some shuffling in the past few years but they are still anchored at vocals and bass by Martin Courtney and Alex Bleeker respectively. The East Coast rockers even had some surprising local flavor with Alex Bleeker announcing to the crowd he is a newly minted Bay Area resident. I guess the music scene here isn’t as dead as all the think pieces seem to suggest?
Like most artists Real Estate don’t fit easily into any single genre. I heard people around me describing them as “chill wave” or “indie psych rock” but each song really has its own distinct feel. Some of the songs ride guitar harmonies and give you the feeling of listening to Steely Dan slowed down by the effects of some low potency mushrooms. Others like “Out Of Tune” are like listening to a vinyl single of Fleetwood Mac‘s “Gypsy” that has partially melted in the sun. The crowd ate up hits like “Talking Backwards” which itself feels like an unholy marriage of prog-rock and a very chill Paul Simon.
I know the descriptions are weird, but when you put it all together with some really talented musicians it makes for a magical night of music. They didn’t employ any crazy visuals, just a few house lights. These days it can be refreshing to just focus on good sound.
After a short encore break they played a new song that had me eager for a new album, Atlas is a tough act to follow. Hopefully they will give us all a taste very soon. They ended with “It’s Real” to the delight of everyone in the audience that likes to sing “ohh” and “ahh,” which let’s face it is anyone still out at 11:30 on a Monday.
There is still time to catch them for one last set tonight, if you can find a ticket. I know Monday night they only had 10 tickets at the door. More info here.