[ATTENDED: June 10, 2015] Real Estate
We ordered tickets for Belle and Sebastian months and months ago (probably back in April before Sarah’s birthday). We had no idea a) they would be playing in Philly as well and b) who the opening act would be.
In Philly the opener was Lucius, a band I like a bit, and who are quite dancey. But at Radio City, the opener was Real Estate, a jangly pop band who I like better.
Real Estate’s previous album was selected on many 2011 best of lists. Their new album I think may not be quite as catchy, but it has the same summery vibe. (And the cover of the new album, Atlas, features Stefan Knapp’s mural that was on Alexander’s department store in Paramus–Real Estate are from Ridgewood, New Jersey, you see).
On the left is the mural (280 panels weighing in at 250 tons). On the left is the band’s tribute.
The band talked about seeing Belle and Sebastian ten [sic] years ago at Hammerstein ballroom (it was actually in 2002 and I was there) and how excited they are to play for them at Radio City. It was also cute that their families made it to the show.
Anyhow, the set was really good. They played a bunch of songs from their new album (marked below with an (a) which is the only record of theirs that I have. But the biggest moment came from “It’s Real,” one of the great singles from 2011 from their previous album Days (songs from Days are marked with a (d) below).
Their songs are, if not samey, at least similar–they have their own distinct sound. Echoey, reverbed guitars and keyboards creating shimmery slow poppy songs. I find that on record I like a few songs at a time, but the whole record gets a little repetitive.
Live, however, they broke with that, sounding bigger and more sonically adventurous. At times they sounded a bit like Death Cab for Cutie, at others they sounded a bit like Sloan, but always with that same warm summery vibe. It was a lovely set.
The crowd seemed pretty into them–perhaps more so on the main floor, and less so in the second balcony. They seemed to have a sense of humor, despite the front VIP seats being pretty much empty.
We got there a little late because the traffic was horrendous getting through the Lincoln Tunnel. And, I never thought I would sound like my parents who 30 years ago said they hated going into the City, but I really don’t enjoy going into the City anymore. It’s crazy expensive, and aside from a few things, there’s just not much that’s going to draw my attention anymore. So, yes, had I known they were playing in Philly I would have gone to that show instead. Although I would have missed Real Estate, and that would have been a bummer.
Incidentally, I’ve only been to Radio City once before and I had no idea how big the stage was. The band looked so tiny up there in the cavernous space (you gotta fit all those Rockettes, right?). Check out this photo of all that negative space. There they are in front of Belle and Sebastian’s gear.
You can see some great closer pictures done by BrooklynVegan at their site.
- Had to Hear (a)
- Crime (a)
- Green Aisles (d)
- Beach Comber (re)
- It’s Real (d)
- How Might I Live (a)
- Easy (d)
- Horizon (a)
- Talking Backwards (a)
- The Bend (a)