Washed Out and Memoryhouse
May 6, 2012
A Sunday following a major drinking holiday isn't the best time to put on a show. The day is meant to be spent recovering, nursing whatever remnants of a hangover are left from the night before.
Apparently, someone forgot to mention this to the full house at The Observatory last night, as the main room was packed with hipsters and geeks swaying to the synthpop chillwave stylings of Georgia native Ernest Greene, better known as Washed Out, who was playing his first ever OC show.
Opening act and Sub Pop label-mate Memoryhouse began performing at 8:45 to an already full dance floor. Their brand of dream pop started off slow and uneasy. Lead singer Denise Nouvion's Deschanel-esque vocals were strained during the first half of their set; as Memoryhouse hit their crescendo, though, she was obviously much more comfortable.
After a lull of twenty minutes, Greene and his band finally took the stage.
They began playing immediately, starting with “Echoes,” track two off their first album, Within and Without. Unfortunately, they ran into technical issues immediately, as Greene's keyboard wasn't working at all.
After another break during which the crowd looked around awkwardly, many of them reaching for their phones, Washed Out took the stage again. Greene, iPad in hand, launched into a song off their first EP, Get Up.
The rest of the set went off without a hitch. The crowd was muted, barely even swaying together but completely immersed in the music.
Halfway through the set, Memoryhouse guitarist Evan Abeele joined the Washed Out band on stage to play, though he stood away from the keyboards and out of the lights.
The set ended with synthpop-hit "Amor Fati,” but it wasn't long before the surprisingly well synchronized clapping from the crowd, the most energy they had shown that night, drew the band back on stage for an encore.
Unfortunately, the encore resembled the beginning of the show. As the band began to play their final song, obvious glitches could be heard, from static, to skipping and signals cutting out and in.
Personal Bias: What's one of my favorite parts of the show Portlandia? The fact that they use Washed Out's "Feel it All Around” as their theme song.
Overheard in the Crowd: Some random guy: "EVERYBODY START DANCING!” Someone in the crowd: "SHUT UP.”
Random Notebook Dump: Guy in front of me is such a hater. Texted a friend of his: "I'm not a songocologist but choruses normally have lyrics.” Cool story bro, enjoy the music.