By Paige Elexis Owens
Following the success of their second studio album, This Home Inside My Head, released in May 2016, Real Friends’ frontman, Dan Lambton, announced last November that he and the band would be taking time off to take care of their personal lives. Lambton explained that due to a number of factors including his mental health, Real Friends would be unable to tour overseas in December as previously planned. But after taking the time necessary to regain their strength and spirits, Real Friends returned to the road this spring and they’ve certainly left their mark across the country.
Before Real Friends took to the stage to showcase their newest album in the dark and rather intimate Rex Theater on East Carson Street, four well-versed performances warmed up the crowd and got everyone hyped up for the main event.
Starting the show promptly at 6:15 pm, nothing, nowhere opened the night with his 2016 hit “Letdown.” Captivating the audience with his raw sound, rhythmic beats, and catchy choruses, nothing, nowhere effortlessly moved around the stage in his oversized hoodie. Following nothing, nowhere’s five song setlist, Broadside eagerly began setting up their equipment and interacting with fans leaning against the stage. A bright pink, neon sign flashed “PARADISE” throughout the dim venue and lit faces within the crowd, while frontman Ollie Baxter gushed over Broadside’s second full length album, Paradise, which is set for release on June 16th.
Have Mercy opened their set with “Smoke and Lace” off of their new 2017 album Make the Best of It. A compilation between their first and second album, Have Mercy’s raspy vocals tore through the room as the vibrant blue and red lights set the tone to highlight their performance. The final act before Real Friends hit the stage, Tiny Moving Parts, ran like a well-oiled machine. Between their intense vocals, incredible drums, and melodic guitars, the trio left a lasting impression on the anxious crowd at The Rex Theater.
As anticipation continued to build throughout the room, the opening acts and crew members paraded on and off stage as everyone enthusiastically waited for the arrival of Real Friends to the stage. But finally, the moment had arrived. Real Friends walked nonchalantly on stage with enthusiasm spread across their faces and house furniture set up in the background to mock their album cover. Despite the time they had taken off to regroup, they had certainly come back on the road in better spirits and ready to rock every city they stopped in.
As frontman, Dan Lambton, grabbed the microphone, the red and blue stage lights glowed off of his Emo International t-shirt. The set opened with “Empty Picture Frames” from their new album and flowed into several new songs including, “Colder Quicker.” Although their tour showcased This Home Inside My Head, you know Real Friends couldn’t leave fans without playing classics such as, “I’ve Given Up On You” and “I Don’t Love You Anymore.”
Emotions ran high throughout the theater as the set came to a close and Lambton touched on the subject of his anxiety. Lambton proudly explained to the crowd,
“If you’re struggling with anxiety or depression or bipolar disorder, it’s okay to get help. It doesn’t mean you are weak. It means you want to improve, it means you want to better yourself. You want to be the best possible version of yourself that you can possibly be, and I commend you!”
Real Friends concluded the show with a performance of “Summer” that brought the entire crowd together before exiting the stage.