As much as we love what Ernest Greene has done with Washed Out, we didn’t know how well those sounds would translate to a live setting. Yes, over the years Washed Out has been the perfect soundtrack to cool hipster parties on TV but would it evoke the same feeling if you experienced it in real life? Or would all the programmed sounds and samples lose any potent meaning without the personal connection of solo listening?
Don’t worry, connection abso-fucking-lutely made. Washed Out at London’s Heaven last Thursday was one of the most joyous gigs that we’ve been to in recent memory. With a mix of programmed beats and live instruments and alongside his band, Greene makes a surprisingly charismatic and magnetic frontman. He stands in front of an LED screen with psychedelic visuals that mesh together perfectly with each song, sometimes recording Greene and his band’s exact movements and projecting them behind him, making brand new moments for this unsurprisingly hipster London crowd.
Greene performs a perfect balance of old and new, showcasing a discography much stronger and performance-friendly than previously thought. He seamlessly moves from the more pop- and dance-driven Mister Mellow tracks like the sunny Hard To Say Goodbye to early joints like New Theory and crowd favourite Feel It All Around. Even digging into the crates and playing Hold Out from the Life of Leisure EP still somehow makes him sound just as fresh aeight years on.
More importantly, even though we’re fans of Mister Mellow already, seeing it performed live has breathed new life into an album many didn’t fully appreciate the first time around. And any misgivings or doubts we had for a live performance are totally gone, given that Washed Out should now be counted as one of those acts you need to see on stage. Needless to say, there is so much more to Ernest Greene than a wayward tag of anonymous chillwave bedroom producer.