Show Review: Washed Out @ The Mohawk

Washed Out is all growns up?

Ernest Greene has been a buzz-worthy blog-hyped man and a latop. He and his wife manage all merch. He records in the corner of a bedroom at a lakehouse. This is a solo act. Or is it?

The stage was full of instruments. There were three sets of keyboards, drums, a bass and, yes, a Macbook. But it wasn’t front and center. It wasn’t on a card table up front with a small keyboard for improv. More on the band, the tech and the openers Feathers and Sleep ∞ Over after the break.

Here is everything I know about Feathers. Dreamy pop for four ladies, this was their first gig. Promising. I’ll update with a link if I find one.

Sleep ∞ Over fought technical difficulties at the start of their set. Stefanie Franciotti couldn’t share the sweet keys prompting cable changes and filler warm-up music from her band mates. Their set, once underway, was as expected. Pretty. Given Washed Out’s *spoiler alert* new found energy, I’m not sure it was a solid booking, but most of the crowd was not ready for what was next.

So after working through the now packed house to get to photographer’s corner, Washed Out came to the stage prompting the rather intoxicated young lady next to me to declare, “Who is that? That’s not Washed Out.” It took a little calibration for all in attendance that were expecting a Macbook band. Perhpas that explains the giant album cover to Within and Without behind the drummer. Energy level was high, Ernest later pleading with the crowd to party like its Friday on a Monday.

I didn’t like some of the live arrangements. “Soft” is a gorgeous song. It didn’t work for me as a fist-pumper. A few others were just a little lost. The cover of “Wicked Game” sounded the same as the Sirius XMU session, which means good but not amazing. True highlights were “Amor Fati” and “Echoes”. The best on the night was when they “slowed things down” with “Feel It All Around” which reminded me of the excellent split set Washed Out did with Small Black at The Mohawk during SxSW a few years back.

The final note is on Ernest’s stage presence. He is still finding one. There were moments that banter reminded me of a wedding DJ. And while not chained to the Macbook anymore, he did have an iPad that was his little buddy, controlling the Macbook stashed by the drum kit. The IT change did allow Ernest to move between synth sets. Interested to see how things develop, he’ll apparently be back for SxSW.

More pics available over at the photo site

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