Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Washed Out @ Bowery Ballroom July 11th

After a summer day with temps topping 90 degrees in New York City, the AC was cranked high at the Bowery Ballroom 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 as he was frontman ready for the sold out show – 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.” Then the lead off track of the new release, “Eyes Be Closed,” served as the encore with the band exiting to the final chords of the song continuing from an empty stage.

*Just learned that the keyboard player is Greene's high school sweetheart now wife (ouch!) She did seem dragged into it all, even my camera guy said how she could have at least smiled now and then...