While the majority of Angelinos spent their Cinco de Mayo drinking strong margaritas at unnecessarily busy Mexican restaurants, I spent mine at The Fonda Theatre in Hollywood with Ernest Greene and his band, Washed Out.
I’ve been a fan of Greene’s tranquil brand of chillwave since he released his first EP in 2009, and I was one of the many who held their breath in anticipation over his debut full-length, Within and Without, last year. The record ended up making my “Top 5 Albums of 2011” list, resulting in the same eagerness to see the young producer perform his newer tunes.
I was also excited to see the Perry, Georgia native play with a full band. I had seen Greene at The Wonder Ballroom in Portland during the city’s annual music festival, Musicfest NW back in 2010, but he took the stage alone. It was incredible watching him maneuver synths and samplers solo, but with the full sound that encompasses his LP, touring with a full band was the right choice.
Greene’s wife, Blair, accompanied him on keys and vocals, as well as a live drummer and bassist. These additions enhanced the electronic musician’s samples and gave the songs a fuller, rounder sound. This (paired with the amount of tequila and Mexican beer in everyone’s system) induced a dance party. I began watching the set in the theatre’s balcony and quickly realized this mistake when I saw the sea of flailing limbs below me. After the first song, I ran down to the floor and joined the mass of sweaty, glorious, swaying bodies.
My largest concern prior to the show was the crowd’s enthusiasm. I have attended one too many concerts in Los Angeles where the audience stands stiffly during music that deserves to be boogied to, and I was terrified Washed Out would draw the same crowd. But Greene himself mentioned between songs that this was one of the livelier audiences he’s seen in awhile. Well done, Angelinos.
The four-piece played a diverse set list during its hour long performance, including Within and Without’s popular tracks, “Eyes Be Closed,” and “Amor Fati,” as well as the song that pushed Washed Out into the mainstream eye, “Feel It All Around,” which is off his 2009 EP, Life of Leisure, and is featured in the opening credits of the critically acclaimed IFC show, Portlandia. I must say, I had a pretty damn great Cinco de Mayo.
Washed Out is currently on an international tour, making stops in France, Spain and Portugal before heading back to the States for Lollapalooza and the Outside Lands Festival in August. Find a complete list of tour dates here.