Real Friends are currently on a run of UK dates with Grayscale and Belmont, and Em was at the Leeds show to provide coverage for you guys to see. Keep on scrolling to see Em’s thoughts on the show, as well as some snaps that were taken from the photo pit! And don’t forget to let us know in the comments if you are planning to or have went to one of the RF shows!
The first band up on the night was Chicago based lads Belmont. I know from Instagram that Chicago Pop Punk bands seem to be quite tight with one another in terms of friendships, so went I realised Belmont are from Illinois, it completely made sense them being on tour with Real Friends. Now less of the fun fact but more about their set.
I can hold my hand up and say I have never listened to Belmont before, so seeing them live tonight was my first ‘encounter’ I guess you could say with them; and I liked what I heard. I found their tunes very catchy and up-beat, which is exactly what I needed after the day I had. The front man was VERY active and full of energy, almost like he downed a few can of Red Bulls before the set for some kind of sugar rush. Needless to say, the set went by smoothly and generally entertaining to be a part of. It was also nice to see many in the crowd despite them playing first on the line-up.
About twenty minutes after Belmont left the stage, it was time for the next band on the bill; Grayscale! With this band, I was particularly impressed, and the crowd reaction illustrated more a less what I would have been doing if I wasn’t there providing Crowdsurf coverage. I cant deny it again, I knew of Grayscale, but I had slept on listening to their music, and I really wish I hadn’t. I did something similar with Movements, and god, I really need to sort it out.
For me, the highlight of the set was when the front man announced they are going to be playing Slam-dunk Festival in 2020, and I feel like for every Pop Punk / Alternative band, playing such a prestigious festival is definitely worth a shoutout in their set, so I was elated for them.
Grayscale are from Pennsylvania and are represented by Fearless Records. Despite them hardly visiting the UK in the eight years they have been a band, they have managed to captivate fans all over England, and this I feel is the main reason their set tonight was VERY enjoyable. I honestly could not tell you the opening song from the set, but I even caught myself nodding my head along to the beat of said song. The band’s musicality was brilliant, and there was some serious talent on that stage in front of me.
I also noticed that a lot more people had turned up by the time Grayscale blessed us with their presence on the stage, which enforced my point about them captivating a LOT of fans with their music. I also found them absolutely STUNNING to photograph, and it always makes the shift easier when I find myself taking some decent photos, but that is a whole different kind of story.
Once Grayscale had left the stage, there was around twenty minutes between them leaving and Real Friends starting their set; which is a mint turn around time compared to some of the gigs I have been to in the 23 years I have been around. From the very beginning, I personally could see that Dan was somewhat reserved, but when he was singing, he really did come alive. It really is a cliche thing to say, but you could see that when he is performing, he is in his happy place. Dan is very open with his fans around his Mental Health, and as someone who has been through hell and back with similar issues, I feel like I could differentiate his feelings from general shyness to a life impacting struggle. The performance from every band member was impeccable, but in particular I noticed for Dan it was a a heart-felt and emotional performance, and it made me really feel for him; it really did.
Another thing I noticed is ALL of the band members are very energetic when performing; to the point where I was struggling to get motion-free photos. I got there in the end, but they are a testing band on that front. Energetic band members is NOT an issue, because their performance and energy was infectious. The crowd ate them up right from the start, and I was happy to see so many crowd surfers go over that pit barrier.
I haven’t seen Real Friends play in about two years now, so having the chance to see them tour with newer material under their belts really was an interesting experience. I have nothing bad to say about their set, besides the fact I had to leave early due to illness. I am a little down in a way that this run of shows is going to be their last for a while, but I guess we are lucky to even have these dates.
You have probably realised by now that I am not a person of many words, but I really wanted to let you guys know how solid this line up was, and I am telling you now, if you have the chance to go to one of the shows, don’t second guess it; JUST GO”.
NB: Photos by Em Art and Design UK. NOT to be used unless permission is granted.