As I walked to the Electric Factory on the ever-so frigid Friday night, I was beyond excited to catch Washed Out; especially after facing the bitter disappointment of missing them last time they were in town. I have been listening to 2013’s Paracosm non-stop since its release, and I couldn’t wait to hear how it would transform live, especially with the new integration of guitars and live drums.
Washed Out at Philadelphia’s Electric Factory
Opening the show were Philadelphia-natives Damn Right!, who brought their unique sound to the stage. It felt like a mixture of various genres, ranging from experimental, R&B, and electronic. All in all, it was a pleasant blend that created an appropriate opening vibe.
As the venue darkened before Washed Out’s set, the clusters of lights placed throughout the stage began to release a luminous glow. The backing band members took the stage one-by-one, slowly diving into “Entrance” – the beautiful melody of birds chirping, lightly tapping bells, harp strums, and intricate percussion.With the radiant lights and flower petal backdrop, it began to feel as if you were transported into a magical forest instead of standing in a crowded venue. Frontman Ernest Greene then ran onstage, strapped on his guitar and said “hello” to the Philly crowd, before crushing into “It All Feels Right.” The transition between the two songs was incredibly powerful, and it was hard not to feel completely engulfed in the moment.
Their set included a mix of tracks from Paracosm, as well as 2011’s Within and Without, including “You and I” and “Far Away.” They dug even deeper, and, much to the crowd’s pleasure, played “Feel It All Around” and “New Theory” off 2009’s EP Life of Leisure. The set list was a perfect balance of songs – from the sexual, chilled-out tunes to the more upbeat tracks. Their latest single “All I Know,” seemed to be one of the biggest hits of the night, as you could feel the band’s energy consume the crowd. Washed Out’s rhythms and intricate vocals create a definitive sound, and you can’t help but feel genuine happiness as a listener.
At one point, the soft-spoken Greene showed his sense of humor, noting the pleasant aroma in the air and stating, “It smells like a Washed Out concert” – I’m sure you can guess which smell he’s referring to.
The band closed their set with “Amor Fati,” which led the crowd to erupt into a full-on swaying dance party. After a short break, each band member strolled back onstage; one even returned with a joint (making it smell even more like a Washed Out concert). They closed their set with a two-song encore that ended with “Eyes Be Closed.”
Washed out makes feel-good music and it was totally evident Friday night. The Electric Factory was full of beaming faces, having a good time and forgetting about all of life’s little worries (myself included). Greene’s vocals were mesmerizing and as a listener, you’re left wondering how all those little sounds in between songs are produced; regardless, it was a beautiful thing. Washed Out’s performance couldn’t help but place you in an atmospheric trance, and one thing is for sure – for that moment, it all felt right.
Article by Erika Reinsel