Ernst Greene Leads Trio for Head-Bobbing Session: Music

Ernest Greene
Ernest Greene, AKA Washed Out, came on the scene in 2009 after posting handful home-recorded tracks to his Myspace page. His debut "Within And Without" was released last year and found its way on many year-end "best of" lists. Photographer: Will Govus/Sub Pop Records via Bloomberg

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
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
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
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.)

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