Report: Kings of Convenience, Real Estate, Melbourne 2012

Kings of Convenience
Real Estate
Hamer Hall, Melbourne
Tuesday 5th February 2013


By Andy Hazel

‘It’s lovely to be in a room like this, all together with each other,” says Real Estate singer and guitarist Martin Courtney,  gently setting the scene for tonight's study in careful subtleties.

Songs about floating on inner tubes and ‘careless lifestyles’ were written to be played on days like today, and heard in rooms like this one. Tonight’s show is almost like watching an album, the sound is so immaculate here in this concert hall -- the band’s playing so precise, the music so sharp. It’s rare for restraint to be such a finely honed skill but both of tonight’s bands are experts at it.

'Beach Comber', 'Out of Tune', 'Green Aisles' and 'It’s Real' all sound like they’re presented to us on velvet, their instrumental sections full of chiming guitars and entwining melodies, like a less adventurous Feelies. Closing with the trance-like rock of 'All the Same' and its protracted, slowing conclusion, the five-piece and their most gentle of surf-rock leave the stage with broad smiles.

As Kings of Convenience take to the stage, bringing the crowd to its feet and sending reviewers to online thesauri in an effort to find synonyms for ‘lovely’, the grinning faces of Erlend Øye and Eirik Glambek Bøe exude cheer. Opening with the pin-drop hush of 'My Ship Isn’t Pretty', Bøe’s nylon string thrumming is so delicate—their voices so warm and accents so strong—they could provide Portlandia with a season’s worth of new material. 'Second to Numb', 'Love is no Big Truth' and their early classic 'I Don’t Know What I Can Save You From' highlight their harmonies before they reveal the real reason Real Estate were chosen as supports: ‘They are from Bergen, New Jersey,’ explains Øye slowly, ‘we are from Bergen, Norway. We thought we should find out what destiny was trying to tell us.’ That they're Laneway touring partners probably helps also.

'24/25' and 'Mrs. Cold' from their most recent album Declaration of Dependence are sparkling mid-set highlights, though older songs 'Failure' and 'Homesick' gets the biggest cheers of recognition. Unexpectedly for many, a three-piece band is introduced and things get very funky very quickly.

Any chance to allow Erlend Øye to dance should be welcomed with open arms, and so it is that 'Misread' and 'I’d Rather Dance With You', Øye taking the chance to get Dad-like with his dance moves. The fact he’s already six-foot something and skinny assists this rampant nerdiness, and brings equally exuberant audience members up to dance. Pausing 'Boat Behind' to kill the house lights and encourage us all to make jungle noises for some strange reason, only shows how much affection he’s been holding in. 'Freedom and It’s Owner' is the first major deviation we’ve seen from the fantastic set they played at Laneway Festival, and by the time they close with the gorgeous 'Parallel Lines', everyone leaves—like Øye—grinning.

Andy Hazel

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