Arguably one of San Francisco’s more stunning venues, The Independent would transform itself into a packed, cozy lounge-esque room as folks waited excitedly for Real Estate to take the stage on Friday night. The group had booked two sold-out nights, and it was clear that there was a sense of anticipation for the New Jersey-based group to finally appear.
Openers Dream Boys felt incredibly fitting as they entered into their set; with sweet and sugary dream pop, the music felt very much akin to Real Estate.
Their self titled LP out now on Art Fag Recordings, the performance was a surprising relief: often, openers can be less than well received by the hardcore fans who arrive at doors to seek out a spot in the front. However, by the time Dream Boys hit the stage, The Independent had begun to quickly fill, and, little by little, more audience members began to sway to the music.
“We’re Dream Boys and we’re from Los Angeles,” proclaimed the guitarist. “But I used to live here for more than six years. A lot of you are moving down there. You all used to hate it, but not anymore.” There was some quiet agreement from the crowd, perhaps because as of late we’ve had to acknowledge how many of our artists have in fact moved south due to housing costs or other financial troubles. However, there were also a few jeers from audience members who disagreed.
“Okay, okay some of you still hate it.”
Hailing all the way from Vancouver, Canada, The Shilohs create ’60s pop-influenced jams that feel as if they run from the likes of The Zombies or The Kinks. There was something quite wholesome about the band; as the singer expressed how a certain song was dedicated to a beautiful blonde girl who broke his heart in Chicago, your reviewer couldn’t help but think of The Wonders from the 1996 classic, That Thing You Do!.
Finally, Real Estate made their way to the stage. As they tuned up their instruments, Matt Mondanile could be seen making small talk with fans in the front. This would be the first night of a long tour they would be embarking on, and the band decided to open up with “Crime,” their debut single from their forthcoming album Atlas.
There were a few hiccups in regards to sound, with weird feedback that eventually required the band to stop a few times to get things in order. These might just be the typical discrepancies for the first show on the tour, but with every delay Alex Bleeker took the moment to express how much he appreciated everyone that came out. “We just got in from New York today, flew all the way from there straight to here. But this is what truly makes it all worth it,” said Bleeker. At that moment, a light shone that revealed a sea of people.
The majority of the set was dedicated to Atlas, but Real Estate also ensured to sprinkle in crowd favorites such as “Municipality” and “Younger than Yesterday” from their 2011 album Days. A pleasant surprise came in the form of their rendition of “Pool Swimmers,” a track that could be found on the band’s self-titled debut from way back in 2009.
The crowd––whether filled with new fans or those unfamiliar with the self-titled release––seemed to enjoy the song, but didn’t exhibit the kind of enthusiasm your reviewer most definitely had for hearing such an old track. In a set dominated by new songs, though, it was refreshing to hear something from older recordings to make its way into the performance.