Indie rock band Real Estate performed for around 500 students in the Student Union Ballroom at the University of Connecticut Saturday night, in what was a stunning success of a show put on by UConn’s alternative radio station, WHUS, for its annual Spring Fling concert.
“This is my last show that I’m booking for WHUS, so it means a lot [hat this was a success] because I started here as a freshman and worked really hard to make sure that all of my interests were met,” WHUS general manager Kailey Townsend said after the show.
Real Estate, a popular New Jersey-based indie band with four studio albums, headlined the concert. Mild Monk, a student band, and Rips, a rock band from Brooklyn, served as the sold-out show’s openers.
Real Estate played several of its biggest hits, including “Darling,” “Talking Backwards” and “It’s Real,” which got the crowd bobbing their heads up and down, dancing all over the place.
Real Estate, which has performed at UConn two times before Saturday, joked around with students in between songs. At one point, members of the band pointed out that the last time they’d played in Storrs seven or eight years ago, everyone in the audience was in elementary school. They also made a reference to how Ted’s was the big hangout spot back then, drawing a small round of applause from bar goers.
Between the great music and the audience engagement, Real Estate put on a fantastic show, despite playing in front of a smaller crowd.
“It’s great to play in front of an intimate audience like this. We’ve done college shows before and I’m sure we’ll do them again,” Real Estate front man Martin Courtney said. “It was a great crowd.”
Mild Monk opened the night and received a lot of love from fellow students who came to support them. Songs like “Bittersweet Pie” and “Gotta Put Down My Phone” were particularly pleasing to listen to, with great guitar riffs and lyrics that one could easily connect with. The band’s performance was definitely an energetic one fueled by their fans, even though nerves may have played their part.
“It was pretty crazy, pretty insane [to play in front of everyone],” Mild Monk front man Henry Stein said. “I was super nervous the whole set and I feel like the more I moved, the more I got more nervous.”
Stein said the experience of opening for a band like Real Estate was one that he’d never forget.
“Absolutely insane, it’s crazy to be opening for Real Estate,” eighth-semester digital media and design major Stein, said. “I’ve been listening to Real Estate for the past two years and I never thought I would even start a band when I made the album. And these guys and gals who played with me, we got to open for Real Estate.”
Courtney had some positive things to say about Mild Monk’s performance after the show, citing the band’s focus as more evident than a normal college band.
“Mild Monk were super good, really good,” Courtney said. “Actually we were talking about how good they were. Especially as a college band, where you might not be as focused as they sounded. They had good ideas; it was cool and I was impressed.”
“I thought the show was amazing,” eighth-semester biological sciences major Anya Brych, said. “[Real Estate] is definitely a really large band, so the fact they were able to book them was pretty amazing.”
Band members were quite open to talking to fans after the show and signed t-shirts, vinyl and other merchandise.
“Normally when you go to concerts, it’s impossible to get to meet the band,” Brych said. “But the fact that it’s such a small venue, you can talk to them and meet them and get stuff signed, and they know your name is pretty awesome.”
The 2018 WHUS Spring Fling was a massive success with a very popular indie band, but Townsend said she doesn’t think this means the standard is too high for better and better concerts in the future.
“I don’t want to say this sets a standard, because that means everyone has to follow it, but I think everyone is inspired now,” Townsend said. “Everyone knows that if we can book Real Estate, we can book other bands that we like. I just know that next year we’re going to be better.”