On April 23, a chilly Monday night, Georgia’s Ernest Greene, better known as Washed Out, brought his brand of synth-pop music to the stylish sold-out crowd at the Music Hall of Williamsburg.
LED pole lights flickered behind Greene and his trio as the opening synthesizer notes of “Echoes” pumped through the speakers. A drum machine kept the pulse while chilled vocals soothed on this dark, pulsating number.
Next they broke out the big beats of “Get Up.” It’s a track from Greene’s 2009 debut EP, “Life of Leisure,” which he recorded by himself in the bedroom of his family home in rural Georgia.
On this night, it had a much grander feel. The choppy beats and sexy pre-recorded vocals set the crowd bouncing in the early stages of hypnosis.
The bass started “Far Away.” Greene slouched over his keyboards, iPad and other machines as he quietly sang the vocals atop a trickling beat. The parts were minimal but the simplicity was well-suited for this tepid dance track.
“It’s weird playing in front of a full house,” Greene said on the heels of his second sold-out New York show in as many days. The crowds owe much to the release of his excellent and compelling debut album, “Within and Without.”
“Before” kept heads bopping with a mix of drawn-out notes, sluggish vocals and a slow, consistent beat. “Soft” brought on a dreamlike trance through ethereal vocals blended with a simple bass line and tapping of cymbals.
For the night’s most popular number, “Feel It All Around,” a tune that serves as the intro to IFC’s popular comedy television show “Portlandia,” Greene invited Memoryhouse guitarist Evan Abeele onstage. The lush, slow-moving number was greeted with heavy cheers as Abeele’s guitar kicked out feedback. The group wrapped up the set with a change of pace in the dance-heavy “Amor Fati.”
The encore offered old and new material. “Hold Out,” from the EP, had a stoned dance-hall feel melding swirling notes and Greene’s muffled vocals. Moving from his keys to the front of the stage, Greene clapped along with us one last time for “Eyes Be Closed.” One of Washed Out’s best new songs, it builds in layers as it makes its way from a crawl to a walk to a run.
This month Brooklyn plays host to two music festivals. The first is curated by Bryce and Aaron Dessner of Brooklyn’s the National. They’ll use various spaces at the Brooklyn Academy of Music for Crossing Brooklyn Ferry. Taking place May 3-5, the festival will be headlined by the Walkmen, St. Vincent and Beirut. Three-day passes are sold out, yet single-day tickets are available for May 3rd and 4th.
Next we have The Great GoogaMooga Festival taking place in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park on May 19th and 20th. Superfly -- the folks that put together Bonnaroo, Outside Lands and Jazzfest -- have organized “an amusement park of food and drink” with 75 food vendors, 35 brewers, 30 wine makers and 20 music performances. May 19th will be headlined by the Roots and May 20th by Darryl Hall & John Oates. Free tickets have been distributed, but “Extra Mooga” passes remain on sale.
Here’s a selection of New York-area shows in May. Please note that opening bands aren’t always listed. Shows marked (SO) are sold out, although online services such as Craigslist often have tickets.
May 1 The Shins/Real Estate at Terminal 5 (SO) May 2 Lower Dens/Air Waves at Glasslands (SO) May 3 We Were Promised Jetpacks/Breton/Fort Lean at Bowery Ballroom (SO) May 4 Andrew Bird/Patrick Watson at Beacon Theater May 5 Frankie Rose/Dive/Spectrals at Mercury Lounge (SO) May 6 Shearwater/Dawn Landes at Le Poisson Rouge May 7 Spiritualized/Nikki Lane at Terminal 5 May 8 The Beach Boys at Beacon Theater (SO) Bear in Heaven/Blouse/Doldrums at Bowery Ballroom May 9 The Beach Boys at Beacon Theater (SO) Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zero’s/Fool’s Gold at Roseland Ballroom May 10 M83/I Break Horses at Terminal 5 (SO) May 11 M. Ward/Lee Ranaldo Band at Webster Hall (SO) May 12 The Budos Band at Bell House May 13 Polica at Maxwell’s May 14 Joywave/Team Spirit/Young Midnight at Glasslands May 15 Regina Spektor/Only Son at United Palace Theater (SO) May 16 Gaslight Anthem at Music Hall of Williamsburg (SO) The Barr Brothers/Kishi Bashi at Le Poisson Rouge May 17 New Villager/Caveman at Brooklyn Museum May 18 Jonathan Wilson/Jenny O at Mercury Lounge (Early Show) May 19 Father John Misty/Har Mar Superstar at Knitting Factory Nick Waterhouse & His Tarots at Mercury Lounge (Late Show) May 20 Reggie Watts at Webster Hall May 21 Jack White/Alabama Shakes at Roseland Ballroom (SO) May 22 Garbage at Webster Hall (SO) Jack White/Alabama Shakes at Roseland Ballroom (SO) May 23 Crystal Fighters/Is Tropical/Icky Blossoms at Music Hall of Williamsburg May 24 Hooray for Earth/Warm Ghost/Co La at Glasslands May 25 PS I Love You/Army Girls at Mercury Lounge (Late Show) May 26 The Virgins/Grand Rapids at Mercury Lounge (Late Show) May 27 Bill Frisell at Village Vanguard May 28 Talib Kweli at Le Poisson Rouge May 29 OFF!, Cerebral Ballzy, Bowery Ballroom May 30 Great Lake Swimmers/Cold Specks at Bowery Ballroom May 31 Radiohead/Caribou at Prudential Center (SO)
(Jaime Widder works in sales for Bloomberg News. Any opinions expressed are his own.)
Muse highlights include Katya Kazakina on the art market.