The Garden’s State’s Real Estate recently visited your nation’s capital for a Sunday night show at Black Cat that somehow became the second weekend in a row where it was affirmed that hipsters can, indeed, love NFL football. This unlikely pairing of hipsters and playoff football began the previous weekend in Williamsburg, where I happened upon a Saints bar filled with fanatical vintage plaid-clad Giants fans one wouldn’t ever expect to be as well-informed about professional sports. But alas, amongst the dude who looked like Judah Friedlander cookin’ up killer Cajun food on a hot plate and Hipster #3, these people were clearly ready for some football.
It continued the following weekend, as Real Estate made an appearance delayed by the elongated nature of the Giants / 49ers game, which, in fact required overtime to reach a conclusion. Thankfully, the band didn’t make the capacity crowd wait it out through overtime, but they did wear their loyalties proudly as bassist Alex Bleeker proudly sported his colors, marking perhaps the first time I’ve ever seen an indie rock band wearing sports gear on stage non-ironically.
The show itself was the soundtrack to an indie rock dentist’s office, soothing and even-keeled without sudden moves or sharp edges. It possessed the acceleration of a German-made diesel, smooth and steady without significant torque but with a pleasant progression to a reasonable top-end speed. It was the appropriate conclusion to a frenetic weekend, and except for the bassist’s clear love for the Giants, any sort of alpha-male stage presence was latent. It was the sort of show that didn’t quarrel with the hangover the majority of the crowd looked to have acquired the night before, some of them without the tacit approval of their localities.
Moments of early 90s Brit-inspired vocals mixed with the band’s signature Jersey Janglepop to evoke the heights of The Stone Roses and mathematically precise nerd rock. Their Fender-friendly soundscape doesn’t break any barriers, but it warmly provided a pleasing respite from the cold and a more than adequate bridge between the harangued consumption of the weekend and the return to the white-collar salt mines that the yuppie-ish crowd treads on its path to upper-middle class prosperity. After all, Real Estate is a quintessential part of the American Dream, no?