Show review in brief: Real Estate with Zola Jesus at the Subterranean, Chicago (July 18, 2010)

What is one to do after 3 days of attending a major music festival? The answer is clearly to catch one of the bands that you saw at the festival in a small club setting. Real Estate played the Pitchfork Music Festival on Saturday at the main stage to probably something like 10,000 people. Getting to see them again, this time at a club with a capacity of less than 200 (I’m guessing), changed things a bit, for the better.

Opening, and already well into her set when we arrived, was Zola Jesus. Her voice is beautiful and haunting and the backing music was not quite danceable, but not exactly droning either. Could we be happy with a classification of “electro-shoegaze”? Thankfully for her, the music is wonderful because her stage presence was unnerving to me. She paced relentlessly back and forth across the small stage for an entire song, which took my focus off of the music and placed it more in the “is she ok? What’s going on?” as my eyes moved back and forth following her. For her last song the pacing continued, but this time in a straight line from the stage and through the crowd. When she reached the point where I was standing she turned around, and I realized how short she is (about to my shoulders). When her set was finished she promptly scurried up the stairs located to the rear and side of the stage, never to be seen again for the rest of the night.

Huh.

Anyway, I was really there because of Real Estate. Like I’ve said on here before, I love their album and their performance at Pitchfork was great so I was expecting another great set. I was not disappointed. The set consisted of pretty much the same tunes as their set from a few days before, but there was more banter, and I think that the size of the club really helped them make a strong connection with the crowd. At least that was the case with me. The sound at the Subterranean is really good, and the mix was clear. I also like that the bar is parallel to the stage, so people don’t tend to crowd around it, and I could zip back for a beer or 3 or 4 and quickly return to my spot at the center of the floor where Kurt Vile can push me out of the way to make his way to the front.

Upon visiting the merch table I saw that there was another Real Estate record that I don’t have. Unfortunately I don’t have money to change that, but after hearing those new songs a few times I realize that I need that album. It’s on my ever-growing list of “albums to get”.

I took one picture at the show, with my phone. Here you go:

wonderful phone cap, eh?
Real Estate at the Subterranean

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