Live Review
Washed Out
Cargo, Shoreditch

Just as I was formulating an argument for why – considering all the difficulties of transferring the recent wave of US solo bedroom-electronicists’ blog-bound sounds into the live arena – Ernest “Washed Out” Greene looked and sounded amazing even though it was just him, rocking back and forth over an analogue synth and desk in the corner, he gets joined on stage, three songs in, by support band Small Black. It’s a recurring pattern in the (excuse the throw-up term) Chillwave genre that what sounded great as a free, downloadable WAV file sounds and looks awful (or at least disappointing) once burgeoning public interest demands that they go on tour. It sounds and looks, in fact, like a guy hitting space on an Apple Mac and whining along. The surprise addition of musicians to break-down the fantastic ‘Belong’ and the rest of the set into individual parts works a treat, lending the show a depth of harmonic feel and a welcome sense of showmanship. Greene’s tracks assemble Philly disco, Balearic, progressive house and hip hop, and he sings into a drum mic, the rest of the band bobbing innocently about like they’re in their living room, playing Kool and the Gang before a night out. By Edgar Smith —– Originally published in issue 18 (vol 3) of Loud And Quiet. June 2010