Photos: Tim Boddy (taken at The Scala, London 09/08/11)

Words: Lindsay Allan

Whilst the news is airing daily footage of what we wish were scenes from a new apocalyptic movie but is in fact the world on our very doorsteps, we all need to find moments to just get away from it all. Tonight we find solace inside a bubble of chillwave bliss by Ernest Greene aka Washed Out, away from the madness that reigns outside.

Very recently signed to Sub Pop, Washed Out’s debut album “Within Without” was released last month. For a musician that creates songs from his bedroom, which also forms part of the appeal of his music, it would be interesting to see how his material translates to the live environment.

Ernest skips on stage with tambourine in hand to opener “Hold Out”, dressed in a black tank top; with dark curly locks and tanned skin, he almost personifies the music he’s creating. And no solo effort here, Washed Out is now a full band with one member actually being his wife. Ernest is extremely chirpy, with cliched cries of “C’mon guys”, and “Hope you’re having a great time” used often throughout his set in his thick American drawl.

As ”Echoes” follows, we also get an entirely new track entitled “80’s”. “I hope you guys like reggae, cause this is our reggae track” Ernest tells us, before playing “Belong”. Whilst “New Theory” gets “You can do better than that. Sing along!”, his enthusiasm can’t be faulted but perhaps he is creating the wrong type of music for the reaction he hopes. Instead the crowd are swaying along in time, almost hypnotically, in a trance-like state akin to those stumbling back to their hotels after a hefty night out in Ibiza - and Washed Out wouldn’t feel out of place as the soundtrack.

Storming through the nearly hour long set, the band also play “Soft”, “Far Away”, “Feel It All Around” and "You'll See It”. Disappearing from stage for possibly the shortest amount of time I’ve ever seen before an encore, Washed Out return to end with “Eyes Be Closed”. Certainly the standout track of the night, as audience members put their arms around each other and sway in time to the beat. It was somewhat heartening to see a room full of people united in tranquility after day of fighting.

Washed Out are a different entity live to that when recorded. Obviously becoming a bigger sound with a full band behind him, live they seem to concentrate on heavier beats, to try and get the audience dancing with vasts amounts of encouragement from Ernest. But still they bring back that feeling of a summer passed (or one that never existed in our case), as we head into the cold months of Autumn.

As I return home tonight with the hope of not hearing one more word spoken of the riots occurring across the county that would burst my little bliss bubble, there is only one thought that is constantly crossing my mind. I wish they could broadcast the sound of Washed Out over our cities to chill the population out and make them believe that they were beach-bound and happy; if only it were that simple.



Washed Out