Washed Out Left Me with Bruises and an Expanded Imagination
I’ve only ever experienced Washed Out from afar, walking past an outdoor stage in a sea of crazy festival attendees. The crowd surrounding him seemed to be emitting crazy drug and sex vibes. I continued on. To be quite honest, I’ve never gotten over that. I beat myself up every day, knowing that could have been a mind blowing experience. I could have heard the set of my life. I could have met the man of my dreams. I could have been changed. When I got the news that Ernest Greene would be performing at the Crystal Ballroom, I knew it was my chance to make it right.
I prepared myself well for the event. I anticipated dancing, swaying at the least. Proper attire was carefully selected. My bag held all of the necessities, from lotion to keep things lubricated to glow sticks I’d never have the chance to use.
The adult crowd didn’t seem too impressed with opener, Kisses, but the other side consisting of everyone underage and everyone wanting to be near the underage showed some signs of excitement. That side always does. If I didn’t feel overwhelming guilt, I’d be right over there will the other creeps. The three-piece seemed bent on bringing back new wave to the extreme. Lead singer, Jesse Kivel, rocked the all-white look. Those white pants got tighter as he moved his body with the beat. It wasn’t a terrible set, but I was just ready to get down to what I had come to do.
As soon as Greene mounted the stage, the audience erupted with cheers. Overwhelming howls created this cloud of heat, expanding as noise hit the waves. This hoped-for librarian turned bedroom musician phenomenon ignited the fire by only showing face and opening with “It All Feels Right”. That moment felt right for me. I realize the “chillwave” genre concept is a joke, but it fits so well in moments like this. Smooth progressions and floating vocals put all problems at ease. Closing my eyes, I moved my body in places I had no idea of and allowed my mind to float into another plane. The band’s decision to flow from one song to the other lead me to forget social appropriateness and body control. From “Belong” to “Despicable Dogs” to the Portlandia theme song to “Amor Fati”, I somehow banged into somethings or some people. My state of mind shut me off from apologizing, but here’s to hoping everyone else felt the same.
We had to work for the encore, but the band made it worth the wait. The return to the stage brought different vibes, similar to what I had seen at the sexy music festival. “Hold Out” and “Eyes Be Closed” stimulated crowd closeness, an eerie glow through the dark destined to work its way into your memory. This was an unforgettable performance. A part of me was left at the Crystal Ballroom, but I don’t want it back.
All photography by Marii Takahashi.