Georgia based singer, songwriter, and record producer Ernest Weatherly Greene Jr., known professionally as Washed Out, returned to Houston to play an evening of dreamy music Sunday night at White Oak Music Hall.
Clumped into a genre of electronic music known as Chillwave, Washed Out shares this category with a handful of other electro-pop artists such as Neon Indian, Toro Y Moi, and Tycho. Chillwave can be described as psychedelic, ethereal, retro pop with mellow vocals and even mellower tempos aka hipster easy listening. And it is indeed, very easy to listen to, dance to, or do anything to.
Launching right into tracks from his third and most recent album, 2017’s Mister Mellow, Washed Out also performed songs from his earliest EP to his latest LP for the first quarter of the show. “Burn Out Blues,” “Floating By,” and “Zonked” from Mister Mellow were interspersed with tracks “Yeah,” and “Luck” from 2009’s EP High Times. The Indie atmospheric sound blends seamlessly from one song to the next, making it hard to tell where one track ends and the next begins. But who could care? It was oh so easy to listen to.
Hypnotic, psychedelic visuals flooded the screen, reminiscent of Peter Gabriel’s famous “Sledgehammer” video of 1986. And all the songs and visuals kept flowing and going. Shadows of the three piece band danced and morphed in the background, with Greene front and center, looking extremely casual and comfy in what could only be described as “Dad” clothes. Makes you wonder if this slacker look, that all the members of the band were rocking, is carefully calculated, or if they just rolled out of bed.
Several more songs in and Washed Out gave the crowd the familiar songs they were waiting for. “Get Up,” “Hold Out,” and “Feel It All Around,” from his second EP Life of Leisure also released in 2009. “Feel It All Around” could possibly be considered Greene’s biggest hit to date as it was featured as the intro song to popular sketch comedy show, Portlandia.
With the crowd lulled into a groovy chillwave stupor and eager to dance some more, it only seemed right to keep it all going. After a brief interlude, Greene and the band returned to play smash hits “Amor Fati” and “Eyes Be Closed” from the 2011 album Within and Without to close out the show.
Washed Out is currently putting out singles and will, we hope, keep the albums coming. Mister Mellow took two years to complete, so we could be waiting a while. In the meantime, you can check out music videos and tour schedules on Washedout.net.
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Houston native Michelle Miears, whose stage name is simply, MIEARS, got the crowd warm and dancing, happy to be out of the cold, miserable wetness that is a Houston winter. Michelle Miears has been making music for many years, most notably for electro-pop group, BLSHS, and has made the rounds at a slew of festivals including FPSF and SXSW.
Her first fully autonomous solo EP, Who Will Save You, was released in 2017 and she will be ready to premier a full length album in 2019. Angelic, choir like vocals, dreary, melancholy lyrics, and synthy danceable beats comprised her set Sunday night.
Mackenzie Mack, who performs under stage name MACK, took the stage next and stood alone. “I apologize my band couldn’t make it...I don’t have a band,” she joked.The self taught singer, piano player, and guitarist released her first EP, Mack’s Tape, in late 2017. Most notable among her songs of the evening: the sexy, danceable, “Underprivileged Pleasure,” and groovy bass heavy, “Before We Sleep.”