[19 July 2011]
After a summer day with temps topping 90 degrees in New York City, the Bowery Ballroom cranked the AC to high for the chillwave of Washed Out. Ernest Greene began this musical project two years ago in his bedroom down in Georgia, but now he’s touring as a five piece in support of the new full-length release, Within and Without. While the group displayed a lack of camaraderie, it didn’t hurt the enthusiasm of Greene or the crowd. The image of a musician holed up in a room is long gone now that he is frontman and headlining the sold out show. Greene was belting lead vocals into the mike while dancing at his keyboards and encouraging the audience to life. He took to pumping his arms up and clapping along, shouting “Come on, come on!”
The set wasn’t quite an hour long but it covered the bases. The undulating synths of “Hold Out” off the Life of Leisure EP opened the show, as footage of waves flashed on the screen behind the band. Next, a new song, “Echoes”, was introduced, with soaring melodies no longer buried and double tambourines to provide a bigger sound to the live mix. Greene asked for help with singing “New Theory”, as the crowd exploded with recognition of the hit. A sax player was brought on stage for a solo in “Soft” and stayed for a revised arrangement of “Feel It All Around”. Finally, the lead off track of the new release, “Eyes Be Closed”, served as the encore with the band exiting as the final chords of the song continued from an empty stage.