Real Estate and The Babies: Live at Brooklyn Bowl on January 5th, 2010

January 8, 2010

Real Estate
I often dream of toasty nights like this past Tuesday’s. The degrees outside matched my age, but the trip to Brooklyn Bowl to watch Real Estate and The Babies kept me heated like a glass of Cutty Sark. Even before I set foot onto the maple wood, an accordion player in the subway sporting a Boba Fett mask and performing the Star Wars theme warmed my heart. A sign dangling from his case read “Have Masters Degree. Looking For Engineering Job.” Times must be rough if one of the most skilled bounty hunters in the galaxy can’t find work. I slipped him some change and moved on to Saint’s Alp Teahouse (Bedford and 8th St.) for a steaming bowl of Udon noodles, dunked in vegetable broth and swimming with roast pork. The $5 bill kept me insulated with delight.

When I arrived at Brooklyn Bowl my senses became over stimulated by the bustling bar, giant screens displaying majestic images from Planet Earth, and Williamsburg’s finest denizens filling the lanes. I thought about playing a game to kill some time, but the prices are handled better by groups of four or more. Instead, I lounged near the front where a wall of decorative pin covers kept me entertained. All the other people, alone, were on their phones.

Luckily, The Babies (aptly named due to their mugs) stepped onstage to start their spirited set. The band is probably better known for individual pieces (Cassie Ramone of Vivian Girls and Kevin Morby of Woods) rather than the sum of their parts, but this night showed the collective off as vibrant players in the Brooklyn scene. Cassie sings as if she were your younger sister trying to tag along, which compliments Kevin’s bellow that could lead any hoedown. The way they trade vocal duties back and forth seems as natural as learning words that end in “ing” on The Electric Company. The band looked a bit tentative at first, but I think that just may be part of the routine. When they played the barn burner “Meet Me In The City,” it caused a wave of perfectly styled heads to bob with glee.

Real Estate jumped on stage shortly after (kudos to Brooklyn Bowl for being punctual), looking like standing members of the A/V club. Their docile manner beguiles their abilities to summon the essence of the sea, with dreamy lo-fi pop acting as their conch. The single “Beach Comber” embodies the spirit of a stroll along the surf. In no rush to get anywhere, Matthew Mondanile’s guitar acts as the tour guide while Martin Courtney’s lyrics emulate the sound of waves. Another song to add to your beach mix would be “Fake Blues,” which starts off at a leisurely pace, but eventually breaks into a sandy stride for the last 40 seconds.

To be honest, I wasn’t too fond of Real Estate’s s/t album, but hearing the songs live has given the record more definition. Their dawdling pace is deliberate and I know now to take my time to smell the sea flowers. Observe Snooki and Pauly D. This is how you represent the Jersey Shore.

Alex Bleeker (left) and Martin Courtney of Real Estate
Real Estate Tour:

Jan 9    Johnny Brenda’s (w/ The Extraordinaires) – Philadelphia, PA
Jan 25  Jehrico Tavern – Oxford, England
Jan 26  Hare and Hounds – Birmingham, England
Jan 27  Def Institute (Now Wave) – Manchester, England
Jan 28  Captains Rest – Glasgow, Scotland
Jan 29  Nation of Shopkeepers – Leeds, England
Jan 30  The Lexington – London, England
Jan 31  Manuscript – Ostend, Belgium
Feb 1   Paradiso (Upstairs) – Amsterdam, Netherlands

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– Phillip Nguyen


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