Concert Review: Washed Out / Small Black – Blue Moose Tap – Iowa City, IA – September 2, 2014

Published by JB.

Despite playing in one of the worst venues in the history of bad venues, Ernest Greene’s Washed Out touring lineup sparkled during a brisk 75-minute pop-filled set – pulling equally from Washed Out’s three major releases.   From a klutzy onstage collection in 2011 to a menagerie of musicians and instruments in 2014, Washed Out’s live show has progressed much like Greene’s studio efforts – pulsating forward while combining color with sound.   His last two albums have been remarkably beautiful efforts – both combining hypnotic vocals with catchy, electronic melodies.   photo-9

Opening with the dazzling Beatles-esque ‘It All Feels Right’ Greene began his juggling act between guitars, keyboards, computers and everything else he could find a spot for onstage.  It fits well with the theme of 2013’s Paracosm – a wide ranging collection of beautiful electronic pop with a plethora of instruments and hidden sounds.   Onstage Greene’s biggest struggle (his solo vocals) are layered by the additional band members, benefitting similarly as his multi-tracked vocals do on his studio releases.   It’s a brilliant step as the multiple layers create a choir of melody at times and add to the ethereal, buoyant quality of the songs.   While it’s clear they haven’t fully peaked as a band, they’re an exciting blend of talent.

The Blue Moose Tap venue is piece of schlock.   Shit for sound, too low of a stage, too hot inside on a day that isn’t hot, no security pit and generally a black eye for a group like Washed Out that has headlined and sold out venues such as Minneapolis’s First Avenue.   The venue is an outhouse on the list touring options for an aspiring band.

–TWTHS

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