REAL FRIENDS // CHAPEL HILL, NC

November 20, 2018

I sat in a local coffee shop a few doors down from Cat’s Cradle, sipping a black coffee to warm up from the cold outside, and listening to Real Friends through my headphones. Remembering how the songs used to make me feel and recalling every line in every song, the waves of nostalgia came along with every word. Soon enough, I checked my phone, and realized it was time to go. I made my way over to the venue, and, immediately upon entering, I felt the energy of every fan packed into the 750-cap room. Boston Manor took (and metaphorically destroyed) the stage, and, by the time Real Friends took over, everyone was buzzing.

“Never be too afraid to ask for help. Lean on each other right now. We have each other. Now let’s get in the mood with some sad songs!” screamed vocalist Dan Lambton. And, with that, the small venue suddenly felt massive, with everyone in the room absolutely beaming in anticipation. “Get By,” a track from Real Friends’ latest album, Composure, had every emo kid, every couple holding hands, and every group of friends jumping and singing along. The band invited everyone up onto the stage, and, right on cue, stage-divers started surfing up and down the crowd, disappearing towards the back of Cat’s Cradle.

I made note of lead guitarist Dave Knox, and the way he interacted with the screaming fans pressed up against the stage. Throughout the whole set, he was leaning over, holding hands, letting them mess with his guitar, and cracking up back and forth at the way they gushed in the presence of their idols. Watching bands interacting with their fans, giving them those special intimate moments to take with them, was a really beautiful thing to witness from the side of the stage. As a music fan, it’s easy to imagine how they feel during those moments, and I couldn’t help but smile about how happy they must’ve been.

Back in July, I reviewed Composure. I gave the album 4.5/5 stars, and openly admitted my excitement about catching the band on their next tour. Now that I have, I would encourage everyone to go experience this album, and this band, live, if given the opportunity. With their set of pop-punk/rock songs, Real Friends exude life, love, and unity towards every person in attendance.


WORDS BY EMILY GORDON

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