Sunny Day on a rainy night: Sunny Day Real Estate @ the Paramount 10.22.09

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The storied Sunny Day Real Estate, a band considered by some to be a contributor to the development of emo music, triumphantly returned to its hometown Friday and it felt like they had never left. Given the group’s association with the heart-on-your-sleeve punk subgenre it was appropriate that it was pouring rain outside of the Paramount Theatre when SDRE took the stage for the last show of their brief reunion tour.
Sunny Day has reunited before and even toured but this incarnation of the band included all four original members – Jeremy Enigk, Nate Mendell, William Goldsmith and Dan Hoerner – and you really couldn’t tell the four men on stage hadn’t played in a touring band together for 15 years. It was great to finally hear songs like “Iscarabaid,” “Guitars & Video Games” and “Seven,” which was the second song of the set, performed live.

For the most part the bandmembers were quiet and didn’t have much banter between songs. But it was apparent they all enjoyed being on stage together given the massive smiles they flashed between songs, and when Hoerner told the crowd he had been waiting the entire tour for the homecoming show you could tell he meant it. The love in the room from the crowd was nearly palpable too and the band reciprocated by playing favorites like “In Circles,” “48” and “J’Nuh,” and that was just the encore.
The only knock on the show (and this is a knock on the show itself, not the band) was that at times it was difficult to hear Enigk’s whispery vocals. The band rectified the situation when it cranked up the volume and rocked out during the louder parts of their dynamic quiet-loud-quiet-loud songs. Speaking of dynamic, the rhythm section of Goldsmith and Mendell was very impressive. Goldsmith is a beast behind the kit and he hit the drums with, ahem, Grohl-ian force. I hope your tenure in Foo Fighters is not a sore subject William.
As good as it was to finally hear the songs from Diary and the rest of Sunny Day’s catalog live, it was even better to hear them break out a new song. Tentatively titled “10,” the song still has the feel of old SDRE but updates it with a bit of a harder edge. It shows progressive growth from their older material and what sounds like a renewed interest in making music together. Hopefully this means there is a new Sunny Day Real Estate record on the horizon considering Mendell’s band Foo Fighters are on hiatus and Enigk looks to be finished with his touring obligation behind his latest solo effort OK Bear. Welcome back guys, you were missed but not forgotten.

Travis Hay

About Travis Hay

Travis Hay is a professional music journalist who has spent the past 14 years documenting and enjoying Seattle's diverse music scene. In 2009 he established Guerrilla Candy and is currently the site's editor and publisher. He has written for various media outlets including MSN Music, the Seattle-Post Intelligencer, Seattle Weekly, and others and was the founder and editor of defunct music site Ear Candy.