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Stage Buzz: Real Friends @ Hollywood Casino Amphitheater

| July 19, 2016

Real Friends, 2016

For Dan Lambton, vocalist of emotive pop punk unit Real Friends, the idea of coming home this summer is significant.

The Tinley Park-based band will visit their hometown in this week when the group – Kyle Fasel (lyrics, bass), Dave Knox and Eric Haines (guitar), and Brian Blake (drums) – plays Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre as part of the main stage at this summer’s Vans Warped Tour. “This will be our third time on Warped Tour, second time doing the entire thing,” Lambton reveals. “Back in 2013 we played on the Kevin Says, one of the smaller stages, and then we only played two and a half weeks, and that was the West Coast dates. And then we had three weeks doing East Coast [shows] after that. So we missed the [local] date that year.

So we didn’t get to play [Tinley Park]. The following year, we got to do the whole thing, and we played on the amphitheater stage, which was absolutely incredible. So to get the opportunity now to come back and do the main stage at the biggest point we can be at on Warped Tour, especially at home, it’s unreal. This will be my tenth year going to or being a part of Warped in some capacity. So to get to do that, being in a band, playing on the main stage, it’s surreal.” The concept of coming home looms large on Real Friends’ sophomore full length The Home Inside My Head (Fearless Records). A series of empty picture frames appear on the LP cover, hanging on the wall of a home with no family in sight. The album’s title comes from a lyric in “Empty Picture Frames.” The frame theme also show up in the video for “Scared To Be Alone.” It’s not surprising then, that the vacant frames are a deeply significant theme on the record, Lambton said.

“It kind of represents the absence of a safe place, the absence of a sanctuary because you know a home is a very special place, some place that you build memories with your family, with people that you truly care about, and you kind of solidify those memories with pictures, and you put them whether they be on the fridge or you hang them [up] around the house, you know you have those memories there. Whenever you see the pictures, you know that picture is worth a thousand words. You see it and it speaks to you, and you get kind of this nostalgic feeling of this amazing time that you’re able to share with these people that you care about so much.

And you keep a lot of that, whether it be a physical manifestation of it, like a picture frame, or it be a memory. Having the picture frame be empty is showing the absence of that – or the possibility that it could…that maybe it hasn’t happened yet. That maybe things are bad now but at some point, you’ll be able to fill the frame with something positive and have something good to reflect on.

And just the idea that you can’t have something good in your life and be able to appreciate it as something positive without having to deal with negatives or any obstacles and problems in your life.” The Home Inside My Head is a power pop record about transitioning into adulthood and all the chaos that comes along with it, with lyrics written by both Lambton and longtime musical comrade, Fasel. On “Mess,” Lambton sings “last year I was a train wreck / now I’m just a mess,” before affirming “I’m starting to be where I need to be.” On the introspective “Mokena,” the narrator reflects on graduating high school, while penultimate ballad “Eastwick” looks back at a collage of family photos from the early ‘90s. And on the adrenalized “Basement Stairs,” Lambton laments “change becomes a fence that I can’t climb.”

On sharing writing duties with Fasel, partnership goes back to 2014 – following the release of the group’s debut full length, Maybe This Place Is the Same and We’re Just Changing. “I just thought it would be nice to have a different perspective, and I had felt confident enough in myself at that point to be able to write lyrics for the album, because I had some contributions [from Kyle] here and there. I have one or two songs from earlier in our discography that I had written lyrics for. And I had edited all of Kyle’s lyrics, as you know, they came to me and everything before they went into the song. So I had gotten kind of a grasp of at least how he wrote lyrics and stuff.” “It was nice to learn from him in that regard as to how to go about it,” Lambton continues. “But it was definitely an awesome experience. ‘Cause I had related to all of the lyrics before ’cause Kyle and I…somehow coincidentally would be going through the same things [within] a good amount of time of each other. So I was able to relate to everything that he was writing. But now, to have my own experiences actually in here, not me paraphrasing what these lyrics mean to me, it makes it that much more of an intimate release for me, for Real Friends”

– Jaime Black

Appearing with Vans Warped Tour 7/23, Hollywood Casino Amphitheater, Tinley Park.

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