Good vibes and shimmering chords filled the air last night at the Doug Fir Lounge in Portland where Real Estate played a brief but wonderful set in promotion of their excellent new album, Days. The five-piece kicked off their set with “Suburban Beverage,” harkening back to their first record with the repeated, perfectly meaningless line, “Budweiser, Sprite, Do you feel alright?” From here, however, it was all about the new material. The band played speedy, crisp versions of songs that their fans have come to love. The audience’s affection for the group was apparent and infectious. This was best demonstrated from the opening notes of the band’s single, “It’s Real,” which sent a buzz throughout the room.
After giving the first songs his signature laid-back croon, frontman Martin Courtney stepped back and let bassist Alex Bleeker and guitarist Matthew Mondanile take lead vocals on a song. Bleeker sang with the same smile-inducing earnestness as he does on the album and received a big hand the moment that his number was over. The band took time in the middle of their set to thank openers and tourmates Big Troubles, a band who had more than earned the praise.
Because of their late start time, Real Estate’s set wasn’t it’s normal length, but that didn’t stop them from rattling off killer, extended versions of both, “Out of Tune,” and “All the Same,” before leaving the stage to loud applause. The crowd didn’t have to clap and stomp for long before the band returned. Courtney dedicated their encore song to hip-hop group Das Racist (who are playing at Branx in Portland tonight) before launching into a blissed-out rendition of, “Fake Blues.” The song was a brief, simple treat, much like their whole set. The tune was the perfect finisher, sending the crowd towards the doors with its peppy, catchy bounce still stuck in their collective heads.
Sounding like Real Estate with more caffeine, it was Big Trouble’s lively collection of songs that set the tone for the evening. The longer they were on stage, the more people flooded the floor in support. Throughout their set, the band ripped through highlights from their newest album, Romantic Comedy. The repeated line, “I just want to have some fun,” on, “Misery,” felt more like a call to action than a chorus, sending bodies swaying back and forth.