Live: Real Estate And The Babies Go Bowling

Same place awhile back. Possibly same outfit.

Real Estate/The Babies Brooklyn Bowl Tuesday, January 5

It's not until I explain to someone that tonight I'm going to see a band called Real Estate that I truly reflect on how ludicrous it is that a band called Real Estate exists. That is the anti-band-name to end all anti-band-names, a white flag of meekness, safety, profound boredom. Which suits these Jersey boys well, as they are the best really boring band I've seen in quite a while.

Hello from Brooklyn Bowl, at The Fader's behest, for a free show wherein the bigger whoop is actually the Babies, the Vivian Girls/Woods side project that triggered immediate, robust hoots of derision for some reason. (Zach's strip-club theory in that post is gold, BTW.) And yeah, OK, hearing Cassie Ramone sing without pulverizing quantities of reverb is an initially jarring experience, but her one-string guitar solos are still bizarrely winsome, and I'm pleased to report that she and Woods bassist Kevin Morby have a really appealing bad-karaoke rapport, not so much singing as cheerfully yelling at each other over half-assed garage pop. They're not as slick or rehearsed or menacing as, say, the Kills, and thank god. See them tonight at Glasslands. You can bring your A/V equipment now.

Real Estate, meanwhile, come off more as performance artists, embodying suburban stultification -- dazed expressions, wanton dishevelment, jangly loping, sweet near-somnolence -- with method-actor zeal. "Terminally bored R.E.M.," if only three words will do. And yet this can be alarmingly effective: "Beach Comber" is a startlingly beautiful song, lazy and plodding and yearning, inertia incarnate. It's gorgeous and perfect in a way that's almost disturbing. The quartet can't keep that up -- other tunes just ramble on all slovenly-like -- though they do try to change it up: waltzes and abruptly surly quasi-Cobain rockers, etc. They dedicate a song to the Jersey Shore cast, as flamboyant and engaging as Real Estate is shy and stultifying, but that covers the New Jersey spectrum pretty well, I suppose.


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