Washed Out + Star Slinger // Deaf Institute, Mcr // 8.8.11
The sense of social network excitement surrounding this gig exceeded expectation. True, Ernest Greene under his chillwave alias Washed Out is a pioneer of the sunshine genre. Still, Manchester isn’t exactly known for heatwaves and harvey wallbangers.
As shown by our very own support act, Star Slinger. Must admit, I’m a fan of what I’ve heard. A classy rework of Gold Panda’s Marriage, and reggae waltz Dutchie Courage both perked my ears.
However, the audience were static, maybe weighed down by their chinos, a popular choice of attire for the evening. Mr Slinger wasn’t happy, voicing his disappointment. Shocked me a bit if I’m honest. Yes, he’s a talented producer, but DJ’ing at half 8 on a Monday evening to a crowd of chillwave enthusiasts, what did he expect? Whatever it was, he didn’t get it.
The debut Washed Out album, Within and Without, has received mixed reviews. My view is that it’s fantastic background music with a couple of synthetic standouts. One thing I’d questioned was how to transfer it live.
Seems like Greene has got it spot on with his full band setup. From the first stroke of bass, you can tell it’s heavier than the album. The songs seem to grab you more. Considering I was expecting a heavily pre-recorded and sampled performance, this was impressive.
The enthusiasm of the frontman is encapsulating. It’s always nice to see an artist enjoying what he does.The set is well planned, raising tempo and maintaining class. By the time Life of Leisure EP highlight New Theory comes out, the audience are lapping it. Greene even takes a leaf from Bjork’s inventive book and brings out his Ipad as weapon of choice.
Mixing new and old, the band also draw from Within and Without. The highlight of which being Soft, massive beach sounds and beautifully resonating. With the crowd pining for more, an encore of single Eyes Be Closed leaves a sweet taste.
As you can probably tell, I was impressed. There’s a lot of great chillwave coming out now and it’s well worth listening to (See: Beach Cult clubnight). It’s fair to say that a lot of it is influenced by Washed Out. Tonight proved that Ernest Greene is ahead of the game.