26th October, 2014
Real Estate arrive in Newcastle with their incredibly catchy brand of surf pop, transporting us to a brighter place as the wind howls outside. Louder Than War’s Lee Hammond is warmed through this evening.
There’s a nip in the air this evening as the wind howls down Newcastle’s quayside, hastily making my way into the venue as the heat hits me. Fortunately I’m in time for the support band that have recently encroached my radar, Alvvays. Hailing from Toronto they’re a band firmly on the up.
With a particularly poppy and energetic sound, they’re the perfect antidote to the miserable weather outside. They seem to be rather excitable as lead singer Molly is overwhelmed by the crowd’s reaction as she exclaims “you’re all so lovely!” There’s a real air of Camera Obscura and to some extent She & Him about Alvvays and there’s no doubt in my mind that these guys will soon emerge from the underground.
As tracks like Archie, Marry Me ring out through the venue the crowd swoon and at it’ll not be long before they’re lighting up all those clichéd new favourite band lists. As Alvvays leave the stage that void isn’t there for long as Real Estate are quick to fill it. Out on tour to support their latest LP, Atlas, Real Estate kick tonight’s set off with Had To Hear.
Real Estate foster this beautifully laid back approach, as Black Lake soothes our ears with its beautiful guitar rhythms, heavily reverbed and soft vocals. The set maintains this very similar pace throughout and at points there’s almost a monotonous tone to each track. With each one blending into the next, on the surface this may not make for the best set.
However, their sound and rapport with the audience make up for this as the crowd swoon and sway along in time. There’s a huge appreciation and a real love for the band emanating from the crowd and they respond to this energy. With a real laid back atmosphere it allows everyone to truly relax.
The latter part of the set feeds off this energy with tracks like Crime, which retains the laid back feel but has a little more pace than some of the others. The song also has another trait evident throughout this set and that is Real Estate’s insanely catchy hooks. Crime is perhaps the best example of this and it’ll stay tattooed in my mind for a long time to come.
As the opening chords to It’s Real ring out, the crowd are brought to life for one final time and it’s yet another track that will be buried in my mind for days to come. Overall, the gig has been a lesson in how to find a sound and execute it to perfection and Real Estate find that real sweet spot with a brilliant set filled with their beautifully crafted surf pop and incredibly catchy lyrics.
All words and pictures by Lee Hammond. You can check out more work by Lee by visiting his Louder Than War archive.