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.


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