Concert Review: Washed Out and Haerts at First Avenue in Minneapolis – September 12, 2013

Magical Mystery Tour revisited!


Published by JB on September 13, 2013

  • Washed Out and opening act; Haerts
  • First Avenue club
  • Minneapolis, MN

In our pulitzer worthy (of course) review of Washed Out’s Paracosm album we boasted about Ernest Greene’s sublime use of color in both his stellar sophomore release Within and Without and it’s recently released followup.  The stage show has caught on also.   Designed to look like something reminiscent of the cover of The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper album, the Washed Out performance began appropriately 2013-09-12_WashedO_D3H-56enough with Greene playing acoustic guitar – one of (well, besides the enormous double bass to his left) you’d expect to find in the arms of a man who two years ago spent most of his time on stage managing sounds via an iPad.   The change in texture to the stage show has been dramatic, even if the two albums still have very familiar themes and sounds.   The Beatles-esque opening to the show, “It All Feels Right” had Lennon and McCartney written all over it – both in sound and look, whether it be intentional or not.

While the show suffered from a rather muddy mix it did highlight a monumental problem that Greene has in bringing the live version of Washed Out to stage.   His 2013-09-12_WashedO_D6k-37albums are immaculate, pristine and unbreakable.   Clearly, while he’s not the strongest vocalist on the planet his studio albums cleverly disguise this limitation with beautiful ease.  On stage the album sound is unable to be replicated.   Improvising through that obstacle is what allows other stage masters to merely view their albums as accessories.  For many artists the ultimate finished product in their eyes is the live show.   With Greene and Washed Out that goal is yet to be seen.   Clearly right now their album work is their calling card and the current tour (and the 2011 tour of Within and Without) show a band lagging behind the nearly impossible standard set by their flawless sounding studio work.    That’s a great problem to have.  Greene’s desire to bring so much color and texture in his work has opened the door for something truly unpredictable for the next go round.   His work has slowly become some of the most heavily anticipated indie work of this decade and if his textures and visual appeal continue to evolve along with a slight reinvention of his sound, he’ll soon develop a catalog that is looked back with tremendous acclaim.

See our review of Washed Out’s Paracosm album


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