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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Show Review: Newcastle Bartender Gigs w/ Real Estate

Newcastle Bartender Gigs have featured Titus Andronichus, Bleached and Real Estate

Show Review:
Newcastle Bartender Gigs
w/ Real Estate
The Casbah San Diego, CA.
Real Estate the band played Newcastle Bartender Gigs with Real Estate

  If you deal with marketing types, you may be aware of the term "activation event."   To my understanding, an activation event is something where an advertiser provides some form of entertainment, often a band, for free, in exchange for consumer information, typically an email address, with the ancillary goals of engaging the participants in social media activities on platforms like Facebook (page likes), Twitter and Instagram.  I have gone to events where I have been provided with the correct hashtag in advance, along with confirmation of the RSVP.

 The show at the Casbah last night was a good example of an activation event, with Real Estate as the free entertainment AND, most importantly, free Newcastle Brown Ale AND Newcastle Werewolf Red AND swag type stuff such as high quality bottle openers and easily liftable Newcastle branded goblets- sorry if I wasn't supposed to take those but my girlfriend is a big Newcastle fan!

  In a sense, I'm on the front lines of this activity, albeit without being directly involved in throwing any such events.  I hear about them a lot- proposals mostly, and I attend a fair amount of them.  I say all this as preamble just as a way of introducing my opinion that Newcastle Bartender Gigs are a good example of the species, and that I enjoyed going to the San Diego version of this event.   My online research revealed that other editions have featured Bleached in Los Angeles and Titus Andronicus in New York City.  So clearly, whoever is booking these events knows their shit around indie bands in the United States.

  The venue branding was intense- there was a full size banner on the wall of the venue facing the smoking patio.  In the back bar, every available surface of the area behind the bar was covered with Newcastle Brown Ale towels.  Newcastle set up a third bar inside the Courtyard itself, all the more to dispense free Newcastle Brown ale and Red (Ale?) Newcastle was also giving away large bags of chocolate covered caramel corn, which was delicious but not a good combination with Newcastle Brown Ale, so there was some tension there.

  Personally, I would have liked to see some high quality t-shirts for the ladies- seems like that if you just make a bunch of small and medium women's shirts, you will be getting some good "word of mouth" out of that shirt, if you know what I mean.  What I mean is that guys stare at pretty girls.

  It seems impossible that this would have been the first time I'd seen Real Estate, though I can't find a prior show review nor actually remember seeing them at... Soda Bar?  I want to say I've seen Real Estate before.  I knew going in that they aren't dynamic live and they are really not- just some guys with a bookishly cute lead singer banging out swirly psychedelic guitars and emotionally astute lyrics like there is no tomorrow.  I say this with the very utmost respect, but it must be said that Real Estate are boring life.  Not that it matters to a band that is so eminently listenable.  This is precisely the kind of music that people want to hear:  Mild, mellow, virtuosic, non-threatening.  Maybe there was a time when I resented such music and its fans, but clearly bands like Real Estate are the winners, and it is the bands that try challenging their Audience that fail in the long run (there are exceptions of course.)

  Real Estate have done an excellent job of building their Audience size without compromising their image as a band routed in the legitimate DIY indie world.   Merely reviewing their number of average weekly listeners on Last.FM is sufficient to confirm their status as a top tier indie rock band.  No cross over yet, but surely commercial radio airplay and major festival action is on the horizon for the next LP.  I don't believe Real Estate will ever wow fans with the life show, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't matter for them because the songs and execution is so strong.

  Didn't recognize anyone in the crowd except the people I was there with and SD Dialed In Rosey.  I guess I don't go out much in San Diego these days, but it wasn't a real scene type San Diego show.  Good job Newcastle Bartender Gigs- it was a fun event!

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