Pop-Punk ‘Real Friends’ Takes Baltimore’s Soundstage By Storm

By Emily Vitek / November 16, 2018
Real Friends at Soundstage

On a chilly Sunday evening, Baltimore Soundstage was filled with hundreds of energetic young adults waiting to jump around and sing their hearts out in a sea of strangers to Real Friends, a pop-punk band from Tinley Park, Illinois. The event certainly appealed to a specific fan base, with the majority of the fans in attendance ranging in age from late-teens to mid-twenties, sporting colored hair, piercings, and tattoos. While some of the fans hung back by the bar area, most of them crowded around the wooden stage, continuously checking the time on their phones and waiting for the lights to dim indicating that the bands were about to go on stage.

Real Friends is on tour to promote their third and newest album, Composure, which was released earlier this summer. This is the band’s first album since their summer 2016 album, The Home Inside My Head. Later that same year, frontman Dan Lambton shared via social media that the band would be taking some time off so he could focus on addressing his mental health. It was later revealed that Lambton was seeking out treatment for his bipolar disorder which had previously gone undiagnosed.

Real Friends play Soundstage
Real Friends play Soundstage

After Real Friends had been quiet since the announcement of the hiatus, fans were surprised by Composure, which was announced June 2018, less than a month before its release. After spending the summer on the last run of the Vans Warped Tour, this is the band's first tour since the album’s release. With songs like “From The Outside”, “Smiling On The Surface”, and “Get By”, fans were able to get an honest glimpse into Lambton's struggle with mental illness and his journey towards recovery. In the title track, “Composure”, Lambton sings, “I'm reclaiming my composure / Lately, I've been smiling, pretend to be stable”. In another song, “From the Outside”, Lambton addresses how appearances can be deceiving for invisible illnesses, where much of the illness is internalized and not apparent to outsiders.

From the outside 

I seem fine

On the inside I'm still sick 

The pill's a temporary fix

     //  "From the Outside"  from Composure

Real Friends play Soundstage
Real Friends play Soundstage

Real Friends opened up their set Sunday evening with the song “Me First”, the first track on Composure. An upbeat melody with a catchy chorus, fans in the crowd jumped while singing along about frustrations and despair in relationships. With no barricade separating the stage from the crowd, fans launched into the air and crowd surfed their way to the stage as soon as the song began. With no security guards to catch the crowd surfers, fan after fan was dropped directly onto the stage only to quickly pick themselves up and leap back into the sea of people. The Halloween themed music video for “Me First”, released two weeks prior to the show, juxtaposes the emotional content of the song by depicting a woman chasing the band members around a house with various weapons, ultimately serving them on a silver platter at a dinner table.

Real Friends played other songs off Composure, including “Unconditional Love” and “Get By”, in addition to their older hits like “I Don’t Love you Anymore”, “I've Given Up on You”, and “Mess”. With lyrics that tackle common issues among young adults, such as love, heartbreak, and struggling to figure out your identity, fans found solace in the relatable topics and passionately belted the lyrics while waving their hands in the air. Kyle Fasel (bass), Dave Knox (guitar), and Eric Haines (guitar) kept the energy high by switching up their positions and moving across the stage.

Real Friends play Soundstage
Real Friends play Soundstage

In the middle of the set, Lambton asked the audience if any fans knew all the lyrics to their song “Late Nights in My Car,” which has nearly seven million plays on Spotify. One fan, Hanna, was invited up on stage to sing and be a member of the band for those three minutes. With the crowd surfing and other integration of fans into the set, Real Friends made a point to express that the evening was all about having a good time and meeting new people. In response to one fan who posted on Twitter earlier that day that she wanted to attend the evening’s event but did not have any friends to go with, Real Friends replied “a show is a great place to meet new friends”. Then during the set, Lambton paused between songs to say, “I personally don’t give a s**t if you know the next two songs or not, all I give a s**t about is that you have fun”. Band members and fans alike donned smiles during the entire set, and it was evident that everyone in that room was exactly where they wanted to be.

Boston Manor plays Soundstage
Boston Manor plays Soundstage

Real Friends were supported on tour by fellow pop punk bands Boston Manor, Greyscale, and Eat Your Heart Out. While Greyscale is from Philly, the other two supporting bands have international ties, with Boston Manor hailing from England and Eat Your Heart Out from Australia. Boston Manor played songs off their newest album, Welcome To The Neighbourhood, released on September 7, 2018, while Greyscale plugged their debut album Adornment, which was released last year. This tour also marks the first North American Tour for Eat Your Heart Out, who share a record label with both Real Friends and Greyscale.

The USA tour continues through late November, and then Real Friends has some time off for the holidays before they embark on their Latin America tour in February 2019. You can check out the music video for "Me First" below. Composure is available for streaming on Spotify, iTunes, and Youtube.

Videos

Videos

Videos


Setlist

Setlist

Setlist


Click here to see the setlist for Real Friends's performance at Baltimore Soundstage on November 11th, 2018.

Photo Gallery

Photo Gallery

Photo Gallery


Enjoy photos by our photographer Emily Vitek of Emily Vitek Photography.

About the author

Emily Vitek

Emily is DMV native through and through, originally from the Washington DC suburbs, Emily is a photographer, videographer, and writer who has been photographing shows in the DC/MD/VA area since 2011. She has a degree in Electronic Media & Film production and currently works in Higher Education in Arlington, VA. Emily is an avid Disney lover and used to work at Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL as a photographer. When not at shows, Emily enjoys watching the latest horror flick on Netflix or playing video games.