It’s always nice when things come together just right. I had an uneasy feeling in the pit of my stomach Thursday night at Union Transfer. Something felt off, out of balance—like at any moment the ceiling would come down on us. The woman next to me overheard my sentiments and agreed heartily. I carried the feeling with me all night long, something just wasn’t right about the crowd, the night. If the show wasn’t sold out, it was really close—full to the brim with almost no place to move anywhere. The back bar was empty, the top bar was empty, every living soul was engaged in Real Estate.
That may have been why I felt uncomfortable. There wasn’t the usual roar of talking that I hear in the back portions of Union Transfer. I wasn’t surrounded by at least one obnoxious group that apparently viewed a live performance as the opportunity to talk louder than the band. Nobody seemed to want to kill everybody around them. We were all in the moment. Brought to us by Real Estate, of course. If anyone is going to chill Philly out, these Jersey boys are certainly capable.
Playing what seemed like a brief set—time passed quickly—we were all entranced by the mellow, beach-worthy sounds of these gentle giants. Slow-burn hits like “Green Aisles” and “Had To Hear” jumped to epic life off of the pages of a summertime romance novel. A cover of George Harrison’s “Behind That Locked Door” gently glided over the audience while the shimmering lights flooded the stage, bringing a warm festival feel to the mid-size venue. The band themselves were extremely receptive to the welcoming crowd that was one of the most appreciative I’ve seen yet at Union Transfer.
It was a solid night that really got started when openers Pure X came out and warmed the audience up with their own version of reverb-saturated goodies, punctuated by dual vocalists and a nice dose of talk box. First act Francisco Ferdinand may need a little work, but if they treat the experience of opening for players like Real Estate as a break and not a one-off experience, they may have a chance to do something. As they are now, they were a bit out of place, as their sound relies mostly on drone and repetition, rather than fully realized songs