Real Estate hit a rainy Manchester night and Getintothis’ Jamie Bowman enjoyed a night of New York pop at The Ritz.
There’s something very comforting about turning up to gig in Manchester in the pouring rain.
In a world in which it frequently feels like we are living in some kind of Matrix-style social experiment, the drizzle falling on Whitworth Street feels welcoming, reliable and familiar. Much like the music of the band who are playing in the Ritz on this foul and stormy night.
New York’s Real Estate, have, over the course of four albums, created a warm back catalogue full of evocative, pastoral imagery and a sense of picket-fence nostalgia which, when coupled with the band’s glorious recasting of 80s jangle pop makes for the aural equivalent of a walk around your old neighbourhood or a pint with your best friend from school.
Glasgow’s Spinning Coin do nothing to dispel this cosy sense of looking back with a support set that recalls many of the Scottish city’s indie heroes from The Fire Engines to Orange Juice. It’s all a bit of a shambles if truth to be told but an enjoyable one at that.
Not an awful seems to change in Real Estate’s world so the less than amicable departure of lead guitarist Matt Mondanile felt like a seismic upheaval for a band so dependent on his twinkling riffs. Although Mondanile’s absence is felt visually, his replacement Julian Lynch lends an almost zen-like presence to the left of bespectacled frontman Martin Courtney as they open with Serve The Song from this year’s In Mind album which dominates tonight’s setlist.
Recent single Darling is an early highlight, displaying many of the band’s enviable tropes from its glistening riff to its mentions of “black and yellow finches” making a nest in the garden while Courtney waits “impatiently” for his beloved. The fact it prompts an all too rare extended instrumental only makes it that much special.
The band’s 2014 sophomore effort, Atlas, remains Real Estate’s finest calling card and that album’s Talking Backwards is one of their greatest pop moments, so it’s only right that tonight’s gig seems to hinge on its descending guitar figure as the band come as close to rocking out as anyone in Real Estate comes to letting their hair down. If you look closely Courtney’s spectacles even need wiping as he thanks the crowd for coming out on Tuesday (it’s a Wednesday) and throws a banana into the audience.
If you’re looking for no nonsense endless boogie, Real Estate are not the band for you but as the rousing encore of It’s Real proves, even the most sensitive of souls can rock a little.
And sometimes that’s more than enough.
Photos by Getintothis’ Francesco Imola