COMMODORE BALLROOM, FEBRUARY 1, 2014
As recently as a couple of years ago, it would have been impossible to imagine Washed Out main man Ernest Greene with an acoustic guitar. And yet, when the renowned synth junkie bounded onstage at the Commodore Ballroom, that’s exactly what he had strapped around his chest. As his band launched into the opening strains of “It All Feels Right,” Greene strummed barre chords while vigorously bouncing around, looking a bit like that dude who brings a guitar to a frat party (albeit with skinnier jeans).
This energized display was miles away from Washed Out’s chillwave origins, and this turned out to be a good thing, since the night was an upbeat party. The stage with decorated with white lights strung up in the shape of a tree, and this provided an organic-looking backdrop for the band’s live arrangements. When Greene wasn’t strumming his guitar, he played keyboard, occasionally venturing to the very front of the stage to encourage the crowd sing and dance.
In addition to playing cuts from 2013’s Paracosm, Greene reworked some of his older, laptop-based material. The beats heard on his early work were replaced here by propulsive live drums, and one of Green’s sidemen played a few flashy guitar solos
The waves were a little too chill on Washed Out’s signature hit, “Feel It All Around,” which was disappointingly sluggish and temporarily sucked the energy out of the room. But late set highlights “Amor Fati” and “Eyes Be Closed” meant that the night ended on the high note, proving that Greene has officially survived the chillwave craze and blossomed into a well-seasoned pro.
By Manny Petty
Photo by Vince Solosolount