Last week, on the 23rd October, we had the distinct pleasure of getting to witness something magical. At Brighton’s Concorde 2, Washed out, supported by Us Baby Bear Bones and Amateur best. The latter reminded me of the Octopus from the ‘Bobbing Along’ song in Bedknobs and Broomsticks – singing and playing a range of horns and synths simultaneously. I was in such a state of abject admiration, he could very well have had eight arms and I wouldn’t have noticed. (In my excitement I may have later crossed a line by tickling his tummy, congratulating him on his set. But I stand by my decision, he WAS amazing and he deserved a pat on the back.)
If you haven’t had the pleasure of listening to Washed Out, apologies for being a slight bossy boots, but I must implore that you do. It may be off the beaten track of where you usually go to find a little musical respite, but this is music not just designed with one small group of people in mind, but rather, and I could be running away with myself here (but I doubt it), more of a musical movement.
Ok, if one were to be cynical, it would perhaps be arguable that Ernest Greene’s Washed Out operates in the same musical vein as what could potentially be identifed as the ‘Cali-kush tie dyed, ambient’ crowd. Bleached, Tan lines and Future Islands are all bands echoing the same vibe, that seem to be featuring rather a lot on my musical radar at the moment. Could this simply be a form of outright denial that we are now very much in the land of the wet and the grey, and this is simply my way of burying my head in the proverbial white sands?
When I could actually bear to tear my gaze away from the stage and I looked around the venue, we were all swimming in the same crystal blue waters of Washed Out. Everyone was swaying to the same beat, goofy smiles playing on everyone’s lips, exchanging excited grins with strangers. It sounds cheesy, but never one to avoid a delicious taste of metaphorical stilton, it was the first time since I was a teenager at a Minus the Bear gig where everyone was in tears by the end, that I’ve felt such a tangible sense of togetherness at a show, a definitive sense of positivity emulating from the band that was mirrored in the happy, peaceful audience.
Much to my delight, all three bands came with aural offerings that invoked such ideas of waves, festivals, beaches, psychadelia, sunsets and the smell of suntan lotion. Established classics from Washed Out’s older albums, such as I Feel It All Around and New Theory, merged seemlessly with tracks from their new (beautifully illustrated) album, Paracosm. An album that a friend and I both, after an intense debate, came to the agreement that we’d describe, in a word, as ‘sundrenched.’
When we arrived at the venue, I was quietly exhausted from a long day at work, but when it came to leave I was rejuvenated and buoyed up, much in the manner that a small child acts when asked: ‘Would you like to hold this puppy?’ A state of mind of mine usually gleaned from a good, long session of lovely, life affirming music.
So without overemphasising my point too strongly, I feel that if everyone invested just a little of their downtime into listening to something as soothing and quietly content as Washed Out & co. I think this winter could be over before we even blinked.