By Mike Mehalick, Assistant Editor
Georgia’s prodigal chillwave son Ernest Greene, better known as Washed Out, played night two of a sold out run of shows in the greater New York area Monday night at the Music Hall of Williamsburg.
Tour openers and Sub Pop label mates Memoryhouse provided a shimmering, bass heavy sound despite the presence of an actual physical bass guitar. The comparisons to Beach House are certainly accurate with a quicker backbeat tempo on top of those dreamy sound-scapes. Denise Nouvion’s voice was a bit indecipherable from the back aside from the crescendo-ing “ah’s” that burst forward and woke up the swaying, stoned masses.
Conversely Washed Out, as mostly a three piece, brought the right amount of bass heaviness without clouding out Greene’s processed vocal too much. The dynamic of the three-person band changed from song to song as Greene worked behind different loop machines, and a keyboard wired through his iPad all set behind a propulsive percussive blast. Not unlike when Crystal Castles graduated to larger crowds, Washed Out enhances their live aesthetic with an actual drummer which can be a tricky aspect to traverse for similar acts like Neon Indian, who also manage to pull it off. Greene stayed primarily in the spotlight for the entirety of the set bathed in soft, psychoactive colors. An extra member was employed on guitar for set closer and Portlandia theme “Feel It All Around” and the subsequent encore.
Washed Out’s ticket sales success is unconventional in that their songs have no traditional pop arrangements or sing along moments, which certainly speaks for the band’s reputation going forward. To dig up an old cliché; the sky’s the limit for Washed Out as the boomerang generation continues to support more unconventional acts and manage to look completely miserable in doing so. Sorry had to get that dig in there at some point.