This past Saturday night at the Culture Room is where synthesizers certainly prevailed. The electronic sounds of Washed Out were welcomed to a sold out show that was a diverse collective; all ages and all faces were filled with wonderment and swoon towards Ernest Greene and his chill wave project.
Small Black started up the show and they certainly triggered an upbeat ambiance to support Washed Out; both in their encouragement towards the crowd to join them in lively dance, as the lead singer never seemed to cease in jolting movements, and literally as the opening band for this show. They have a niche in crossing over airy dance rock with distorted, reverberated guitar solos, and they proved their point in being the warm-up jumping jacks to what would proceed through paralleled similarity in both sound and vibe.
Washed Out opened with ‘It All Feels Alright’ from Paracosm, his most recently released album, and the performance certainly abided by the album title and meaning; the dream-like imagery and harped elegance carved into his sounds that also implement the contemporary electronic pop sounds commonly heard were performed poised and with zeal. He definitely connected with the audience through his amiable personality and his tendency to outreach to his fans with a massive smile on his face. They definitely reciprocated that feeling and represented it through their synchronized sway and appraisal throughout every bit of the set.
I came to find while listening that a majority of his music certainly stems in influence from the stretch of years transitioning from seventies ballad rock to eighties pop. With sampling in most of of his early songs, such as his most eminent hit and Portlandia theme song ‘Feel It All Around,’ as well as ‘Gotta Get Up’ and ‘New Theory,’ it is understandable; But even in his original works one could see that he implements the sounds of the disco-funk era our mothers remember with his own soothing layer of lo-fi that is a correlation to ambient artists such as Air who also seem to be influenced by the particles of beats deriving from past sounds. Greene seems to aim at producing a slowed down and stretched out form of contemporary disco. Songs such as ‘All I Know’ and ‘You and I’, which were both played, surely reflect that statement, and in the midst of this thought I realized that the Culture Room itself certainly resembles a discotheque. A good doing on his booking agent, or a haphazard balance in theme? For now it is only a guess in the eyes of the observer.
‘Amor Fati’ was played with an echo of finality, and the band had even said their goodbyes, but not one single person was convinced that the show had ended. Everyone around me was stagnant in movement but surely uproarious in confidence towards the usual concert encore, and they were right to be. The band gradually returned in jovial skips, first playing ‘Hold Out,’ which caused an explosive dance party to emerge throughout the venue, and closing shop with ‘Eyes Be Closed.’ At this point it seemed that every shift in head bobbing movement was made, as if these final electronic ballads puppeteer motion through their rhythms, and I don’t think anyone at this show expected it to be any other way.
It All Feels Right
All I Know
You and I
Feel It All Around
Eyes Be Closed