You’re laying on a white sand beach under a blazing sun, fading into an afternoon daydream, when the tide begins to creep up from your toes until ocean water fills your ears. Instead of panic setting in, you allow yourself to be consumed by the warming chorus of tropical synths and lysergic energy fields. A molten core of happiness reverberates from your sternum before you awaken to discover you’re still in bed listening to Washed Out. Such is the appeal of the flagship Chill Wave purveyor, Ernest Greene, who continues to flesh out his catalogue of ethereal panoramic soundscapes after he helped popularize the genre nearly a decade ago. Washed Out brought those balmy funk-laden beats to the Mohawk on Saturday, and despite the temperature being frigid, the music emanated a comforting warmth.
On tour after their 2017 release of their third full-length, Mister Mellow, the full band had a laid-back stage presence that was enhanced by a kaleidoscope of hypnotic visuals. New songs coalesced with older hits to get the concert going in the right direction with a crowd-pleasing classic like “New Theory” being juxtaposed to newer earworms like “Burn Out Blues” and “Floating By”. Room in the audience was unbelievably scarce as the sold-out show made other ‘sold-out shows’ look like an open area expanse.
Greene’s positivity flows through band and his audience seamlessly, setting a focal point for the music and aura that never seems to dip into the negative. A select few extended plays were embarked on as Washed Out leaned into solos and good ole fashioned jams. A critical mass of contentedness enveloped the crowd towards the end of the set with their biggest hit “Feel It All Around” and the epoch of the set “Amor Fati” both tempting the moment with perfection.
Some concerts offer various components of the show to be exceptional but a truly memorable act will streamline musicianship, stage presence, lighting effects, etc into a synergistic energy bomb of engagement, and luckily Washed Out is composed all aspects with deft precision. The show would end with an encore of “Soft” and “Eyes Be Closed” to send the crowd home with a heavenly taste in their mouths. While the late December temperatures can weigh heavy on moods, Washed Out is an effective prescription to elevate any audience member’s outlook on life.