COLUMN: Real Estate concert in Bloomington review


Ryan Meyer, Columnist

This week I had the opportunity to see Real Estate in concert at the Castle Theatre in Bloomington, Ill. Given the facts that the venue was unfamiliar to me, it was a Tuesday night and I had never seen the band before, I didn’t know what to expect.

Any expectations I had would’ve been blown away. The New Jersey band played one of the best concerts I had ever seen, and my girlfriend and I were lucky enough to be in the very first row.

The opening act, Kate Bollinger, was also enjoyable, as were the subtle skills and musicianship of her and her band.

Their brand of jangly indie rock carried over great live, and the way they extended some of their songs into long, effects-laden guitar jams gave the concert a near psychedelic vibe at times.

The first half of the concert saw Real Estate run through a collection of classics like “Talking Backwards” and “Had to Hear” while mixing in newer ones like “Half a Human.” They ended their first set with “Darling,” perhaps their most famous song. While it was one that I was looking forward to hearing the most, the song that preceded it, “Beach Comber,” from the self-titled first record, became one of my favorite performances of the night by the time it was over due to the guitar interplay between frontman Martin Courtney and guitarist Julian Lynch, both of whom I was able to watch rip through solos and riffs the entire evening.

I assumed the second set would be a three-to-four song encore, but Real Estate came out bearing setlists that featured an album’s worth of tunes. I hadn’t yet noticed that they hadn’t played a single song from “Days,” their great second album from 2011.

To my great surprise, the second setlist, which I now have, would see the band playing the record from cover-to-cover, which includes some of my favorite songs of their discography like “It’s Real,” “Kinder Blumen” and “Out of Tune.” While these songs were incredible, some of the lesser-known tracks like “All the Same” were among the highlights of the concert.

Over seven minutes long, “All the Same” closes “Days,” and the nearly five minute outro (which probably far exceeded that time live) was incredible. Real Estate slowly started to slow the song down to a crawl, and each time they reached the end of the measure I’d think it was over, and then thankfully it wouldn’t be.

Unfortunately it had to end eventually, but it did so by leaving me wondering if I had just seen my favorite concert yet.

Ryan Meyer is a senior journalism major. He can be reached at [email protected] or at 581-2812.